Traditional African masks play an important role in certain traditional African rituals and ceremonies. Masks serve an important role in rituals or ceremonies with varied purposes like ensuring a good harvest, addressing tribal needs in time of peace or war, or conveying spiritual presences in initiation rituals or burial ceremonies. Some masks represent the spirits of deceased ancestors. Others symbolize totem animals, creatures important to a certain family or group.
Osogbo, Nigeria CNN -- In a dark room, the High Priestess used her ceremonial knife to cut two teardrop scars beneath her baby grandson's eyes. As baby Enitan cried out, the marks ran red with blood. In her small mud-brick home in southwest Nigeria, priestess Ifaponle Ogunjinmi performed the Yoruba tradition of giving tribal marks to the youngest member of her family. Ifaponle rubbed the secretion of a snail on Enitan's cheeks and then pressed dark charcoal dust into the open wounds to stop the bleeding. To finish the ceremony, a chicken was brushed across Enitan's head.
African tribal make-up: What’s behind the face paint?
Africa is a continent rich in different cultures, traditions, languages and perceptions of beauty. With many different tribes across the continent, beauty trends and ideals vary. Tribal make-up plays a key role in many of the various groups.
Before modernisation took over, various ethnic groups in Nigeria had their special facial markings peculiar to the tribe. From Yoruba to Igbo to Hausa, here are the tribal marks of the Nigerian people and what they mean. Tribal marks served different purposes in different tribes including: identification, healing, spiritual protection and for beautification.