The Art of Expression
written by John Mack
British Museum Press | ISBN 9780714151038
Paperback – 224 pages
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Beautiful, elaborate, fierce, grotesque or elegant, masks are extraordinary objects that demonstrate the creative skills and aesthetics of many different periods and cultures. Masks are a nearly universal phenomenon, but their uses and meanings are strikingly different across cultures. In ritual and religious use, as today in Africa or Oceania, mask-wearers may be thought to be possessed by or even become a spirit or a god. In ancient Egypt, funerary masks were intended to equip the dead with divine powers and attributes, while the masks used in Japanese Noh plays or in ancient Greek drama helped to portray character. In this new edition of a classic book, eight leading experts explore the stories of masks across ancient and modern civilizations in a fascinating survey of their meaning and power.