Title

القناع فنياﹰ: أفريقيا وما بعدها / The Masque as Art: Africa and Beyond

Authors

Adel El Siwi

Program

ALIF

Find in your Library

http://www.jstor.org/stable/521624

All Authors

السيوي, عادل; El Siwi, Adel

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

Publication Date

1997

doi

https://www.doi.org/10.2307/521624

Abstract

[The author of this article, an artist himself, explores the significance of the masque in different parts of Africa and elsewhere in the world. His article opens by recounting a personal experience which shaped his fascination with masques. As a boy, confronted by the masque, he had ambivalent feelings: fear and reassurance. The article asserts that the masque reveals and hides; it makes permanent and fixed what is constantly changing-namely, the expression on a face. From this perspective, it suggests the eternal and the sacred. The article also deconstructs the binary opposition between masque and face, person and persona, portrait and staged-self. The article describes the features, roles, emotional functions, and development of masques: Pierrot, Harlequin, and that of the Clown. It analyzes the significance of the masques in Pharaonic Egypt and the recently discovered Fayum portraits-which exhibit Greek influence in ethos and technology-in "preserving" the dead. It also analyzes African masques from the heart of Africa and discusses their "classical," abstract and symmetrical aspects. The article ends by pointing out the importance of African masques and the Oriental practice of "veiling" the royal person, as a sign of awesomeness, to Renaissance and Modern European artists.]

First Page

124

Last Page

144

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