The Mask

The mask, the “artificial face”, was part of man’s earliest artistic production; over time, it served as an instrument and a medium in the process of creating life and/or culture in many different civilisations: in the cult of the dead/of memory/of ancestors, in rites of passage and rebirth, as a fundamental form of expression in mystery plays and theatre, as part of courtly pageants, but ultimately also as a form of protection, as camouflage, and much more. New about this presentation in the museum of Ethnology in Vienna– apart from the breadth of its timeline and cultural frame of reference – is its attempt to classify masks according to the function they served, masks both from European and from non-European cultures that until now were separated both conceptually and in museum presentations, and to relate them to each other.