Making Connections

African Masks and Headdresses at the Bayly Art Museum

Have you ever worn a mask?
What was the mask of and on what occassion did you wear it?

Wearing a mask can protect you or make others laugh or become scared. In anycase, putting on a mask or a headdress changes you into something or somebody else. Masks are also used in cultures besides our own.

Several groups of African peoples wear masks and headdresses, often with elaborate costumes for special celebrations, to teach, inspire respect for royalty, seek protection by honoring women ancestors, and celebrate a good harvest.
By examining the choices the artist made in creating the mask and exploring how the mask is used in celebration, we will begin to draw connections between African art and art in our lives.

At this site you will have the opportunity to explore masks at the Bayly Art Museum of the University of Virginia.

Choose a place to start!
Masks and headdresses which...

This site is based on the African art collection of the Bayly Art Museum of the University of Virginia. This page was developed by Barbara Palley under the direction of University of Virginia Professor Benjamin Ray in his class, African Art and the Web Museum Please e-mail Barbara with any comments or suggestions that you may have at