A mask conceals the identity of a person, and can even be used to shift their persona entirely! There are, however, some practical purposes. A surgical mask can be worn to help protect the wearer or those around them from the spread of sickness, and a gas mask can help protect the wearer from poisonous gases. Masks have been fashioned to cover man’s face since antiquity, and while masks are generally unique, they always fulfill the same basic function.
The continued use of masks stems from religious and social practices. A religious practice would entail a leader wearing a mask to impersonate a god, or to make a god manifest – frequently they would speak in the first person. Masks are used socially in either theatrical or festive conditions. A mask can be used to incorporate the appearance of a specific character within a play, and can even be more accurately used to represent emotions such as: anger, jealousy, fear, anxiety, worry, sadness, and happiness.
Mask are designed with – but not limited to –anthropomorphic features, meaning they represent human characteristics; they can also resemble all sorts of theriomorphic (animal) characteristic, dragons, devils, or even personify the natural elements! In popular culture, days such as “Mardi gras” or “Halloween” have incorporated the use of wide-scale costume wearing. On these days it is commonplace to dress up as a fictional-character or real-life persona. Masks come in many different shapes and sizes, and are constructed of a far-ranging variety materials such as: woods, metals, furs, and cloths.