Met Museum – Mask Artifact Observation

The tour of the mask observation was visceral. I even felt my tears when I staring at couples of the masks. During the Met tour, I found three masks caught my attention. The first one is a mask called ” Bird,” the second one is the mask called “Antelope Mask,” and the third one is the mask called “Helmet mask.” These three masks are made out of wood with a little bit of paint. Excepting the first one ” Bird” which also use metal and sacrificial materials. All three of them are constructed by clear and straightforward lines. It’s very easy to observe the basic form of these masks. However, the function of these masks reminds unclear to me due to the fact that the descriptions of them only mention the materials. Therefore, my subjective reaction toward the mask might be totally irrelevant to the original meanings or intentions of the masks.

My favorite mask was the ‘ Bird.’ The mask is a “hybrid” of the mankind and birds. It was my favorite mask because of the feeling it brought to me. It vividly expresses the feeling of depression. Using the face features of birds as the mask somehow links to the idea of the forbidden of speaking and acting freely. It’s a symbol of helpless to me. The wood, metal, and sacrificial materials also prove the sense of heaviness. Especially the sacrificial materials hint the idea of no freedom and right.

The second mask I like is the one called ” Antelope mask.” It’s still a “hybrid” of the mankind and animal. It’s interesting to find out that both of the masks are using animal features on it, however, they delivery totally different messages to the viewers. The materials are wood and paint. It serves the idea of antelope is a kind of herbivores. However, the smile of the antelope doesn’t look sincere at all. In contrast, it looks very treacherous and deceitful in this case. The small teeth inside the mouth also deliver the message that it’s not unharmful and gentle as it seems. It gives me the image of the sneakers.

Last but not least, the last mask I like is the “Helmet mask.” This mask only uses wood as it’s material. The lack of color delivers the message of poverty and solemn. It also provides the sense of cautiousness. The shape of the head and eyes and the proportion of the face create a mean image to the viewers. The feeling it expresses isn’t ephemeral. It still able to show me the idea that it was a harsh period/decade to survive even after centuries.

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