Mythology and Ritual Masks

For centuries, masks have been used to conceal the identity of the wearer. They’ve also been utilized as cultural objects throughout the world since the Stone Age and vary in purpose and symbolism. Ritual masks were often used as a rite of passage for young people going into puberty, on raids, or for administering justice.

Mythology & Ritual Masks

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Unique Ritual Masks of famous Mythical Creatures

In ancient Greece, the ritual mask was an important element in worshipping Dionysus—the god of wine, winemaking, grape cultivation, fertility, ritual madness, theatre, and religious ecstasy—and was used in ceremonial rites and celebrations. One such occasion these were used was when actors performed Satyr plays, in front of their patron god. 

The Origins of Mythological Masks 

At some point in ancient Greece, masked figures appeared on Minoan sculptures and vases. They showed Dionysian festivals where everyone was masked, including those who danced for the god and made music. Each different mythical creature had its own mask from the Gorgon Medusa head to centaurs, leading to the appearance of mythological masks on the stage.  

Mythological Masks in Performance

In the 5th Century BC, mythical creature masks made an appearance on the stage of Greek comedy and tragedy in the form of animals, birds, fish, and hybrid creatures or sirens. In ancient Rome, citizens could show their lineage through the death masks of their ancestors, and these were present in pageants and rituals. 

The Use of Ritual Masks in Funerary Practices 

Many cultures used masks in their burial customs, as they’re associated with the departing spirits. Their goal was to represent the features of the deceased, to honour them, and establish a relationship through the mask with the spirit world. They were also made to protect the person who had passed on by frightening away malicious spirits. From the Greek to the Romans to the Egyptians to the Aztecs, these masks were used to guide their dead into the afterlife. 

 

Shop Your Mythical Creature Mask and Ritual Mask Now!

While many of these practices may not be observed today in the same capacity they once were, wearing mythical creature masks or ritual headdresses are not unheard of. You can channel your inner Greek god/goddess and other creatures for any number of masked events. In the past, these masks were usually made from wood or clay, but now, you may find them at our store with a plastic or resin base and will be complete with beads, feathers, paint, and ribbons.