This exhibition catalogue introduces a hundred masks from Africa, Asia, America, and Oceania, showcasing the use of masks in dramas, celebrations, social politics, and deity–human communication. In dramas, masks share the same rich and varied expressions as their wearers (i.e., performers), where the performances display, through these masks, emotions (e.g., happiness, anger, sadness, and mental peace) that resonate with the audience. In celebrations, colorful and ingeniously shaped masks are matched with performers’ movements and dances to imbue the celebrations with a sense of joy and fantasy). In some regions and culture, masks serve to social and political purposes. Additionally, masks can calm community disturbances, maintain public order, bring justice, and even arbitrate the afterworld. Furthermore, masks can be used as a medium of communication for people to communicate with unknown and uncontrollable forces of nature for the two entities to coexist peacefully. Lastly, masks are used by many as sacred artifacts to communicate with the spiritual world in medical rituals, protecting people from illnesses and helping them recover.
This exhibition catalogue can help its readers explore the different culture around the world and learn about how different ethnic groups use masks to shape the appearances of gods and souls and subsequently use these masks to communicate with supernatural powers.