Art and Mythology.

Essay by majpain98University, Bachelor'sA+, June 2003

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Art and Mythology

Mythology and art can be thought of as one. With out art we wouldn't know any mythology, or at least it would be very limited. With out mythology art would have been plain and boring. In fact many of the work of art's that you see at the museum in one way or another are connected to mythology. In the ancient times when people were illiterate, mythological stories were passed down the generations through word of mouth and art. There are many works of art that exemplify mythology in a literal or symbolic fashion. One specific kind of these works of art that caught my attention while at the Lowe Art Museum was the African Masks. Masque is a form of disguise. It is an object that is frequently worn over or in front of the face to hide the identity of a person and by its own features to establish another being.

This essential characteristic of hiding and revealing personalities or moods is common to all masks. These masks contain religious themes that greatly show the mythology involved in works of art. When people put on these masks they believed that they were more than they use to be. For them the masks contain powers from the gods.

The first mask that I found interesting was the Mwana Pwo Mask. The Chokwe of Angola use the Mwana Pwo in their initiation ceremonies known as Mukanda. Although they are exclusively worn by men, Mwana Pwo masks represent female ancestors and emphasize the features that are most admired in young women. The masks are worn with a tightly knit body suit which includes false breasts and a bustle like fringe worn over the hips. The dance imitates the graceful gestures of women and transmits fertility to the...