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Safety, mosaic masks, & statement-making in the face of the pandemic

(4 min read) Ahhhh the joys of 2021… Presidential public speeches every three days, social distancing, doctor’s warnings, scientific monologues, makeshift offices, and of course, home food deliveries. Everything to stop the C-bug from spreading like a wildfire especially face masks.

Face mask, Mosaic masks, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Beautiful satin rhinestone spider face mask. Mask by Bloodlightandbambi.

Face mask, Mosaic Art, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Festive face mask. Mask by CraftExplosionCZ.

Needless to say, at this point masks have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Surgical masks, colorful cotton masks, masks with filters, plastic masks — you name it. The bug just keeps mutating and spreading, so the masks are here to stay, at least for a while longer. Judging by the state of things, they will become the cultural heritage for future generations, simply because they are beneficial on so many fronts. They don’t just slow down the spreading of the c-bug, but they also protect us from other viruses and bacteria, they are good for covering zits, you don’t have to shave every day, and you will save some money on make-up. So for all of those anti-maskers out there — What’s wrong with you?!

Face mask, Mosaic masks, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Cute and life-saving. Mask by Isolated Heroes.

And the history of masks is long and vast. They once had a much different and more fun purpose. They were used in ancient rituals, medical ceremonies, and festive occasions. So once upon a time, people used masks to fulfill fertility rites, funerary customs, and, get this, CURE SICKNESS. Uh-huh. Thousands of years ago, people were on to something…

Face mask, Mosaic masks, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Nepalese wooden mosaic mask.

Masks that represented harmful spirits were often created and used to keep a certain balance of power, and traces of that custom can be found in many secret society rituals today. For example, in New Britain, members of a secretive terrorist society known as Dukduk wore to judge and execute offenders. The masks usually depicted aggressive supernatural spirits and were made from a variety of materials such as tapa, pith, etc.

Face mask, Mosaic masks, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Dukduk secret society masks. Heads are made of casking with a feather tuft and skirt made of leaves.

Masks were made from a variety of materials, often wood, cloth, plaster, dried grass, human and animal bones, etc. They were either simple, covered with pigments, or deeply intricate in details. Some of the most gorgeous masks that have been preserved to this day are mosaic artwork masks created of a huge array of different materials, a unique testament to the innovative spirit and creativity of the ancient people.

Face mask, Mosaic masks, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Mosaic artwork mask of the god Tezcatlipoca, dating back to 15th-16th century C.E.

Face mask, Mosaic Art, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Mosaic artwork on the facemask of the Aztec people.

On the other hand, religious and spiritual rituals involving masks were mostly nocturnal. Masks worn for religious rituals served as reminders of the respective tribes’ ancestorial legacy, so they represented gods, deities, or ancestors themselves. In West Africa, all of the masks were highly realistic and they represented ancestors in their particular cultural roles.

Face mask, Mosaic masks, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Ancestorial mask of the Dan people of Liberia.

You may not be familiar with the above-mentioned mask, but you’ve surely seen some of the stylized golden masks of the mummies of ancient Egyptians. These gorgeous funerary masks served to lead the spirit of the deceased to its final resting place.

Face mask, Mosaic masks, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Tutankhamun, golden funerary mask found in the king’s tomb, dating back to 14th century BC.

Today, masks are used in pop culture through movies (Ghostface, Leatherface, Jason Vorhees…), for festive purposes, and in sports such as American football, hockey, etc. In the past, you needed an occasion or a role to wear a mask and not look like a madman, but today … you get to look like a madman every day! Lo., just kidding. These days, wearing a face mask shows people that you care about them and that your moral compass is pointed exactly where it should be.

Face mask, Mosaic masks, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Make a statement and show people you care.

So do whatever you like with your mask — just don’t take it off! Bedazzle it, make a mosaic artwork on it, hang your fav earing in the corner, put a flower through the clip — the possibilities are endless.

Face mask, Mosaic masks, Contemporary Mosaic Artwork
Be stylish and stay safe. Mask by CanovaStudio.

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M. Belosh

M. Belosh

Passionate art enthusiast; avid reader (you can find me on Goodreads under the same name); movie connoisseur; intolerable before my morning coffee.

34 Comments

  1. Nina
    June 3, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    It was very interesting to read about masks over time, thank you for taking the time to gather so much interesting information that you presented in this article!
    Nina

  2. Kathy Kenny Ngo
    June 3, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    The last mask is just so amazing! I would definitely want to have that.

  3. Marjie Mare
    June 3, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    These are unique pieces that I would not mind having. All of them are beautiful.

  4. Krysten Quiles
    June 4, 2021 at 6:14 am

    Okay, I need one (or three) of those! So pretty! Glad to see masks still being featured, I know a lot of people think they aren’t necessary, which is crazy to me.

  5. Derek
    June 4, 2021 at 8:55 am

    I love the materials used here. It is indeed resourceful to use such scraps and other things in your house by creating face masks!

  6. CA
    June 4, 2021 at 9:04 am

    Love the historical masks! But I can’t imagine wearing the full-face masks of ancient times! I even feel uncomfortable with a cloth mask and a face shield on!

  7. Jasmine Hewitt
    June 4, 2021 at 10:36 am

    since we have to wear the masks, may as well have fun! it is a great way to make a statement

  8. Melanie Varey
    June 4, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    What an interesting read. Beautiful photos of some amazing artefacts here too. Thanks for sharing

  9. Catherine
    June 4, 2021 at 2:07 pm

    The bejeweled masks are incredible! So many amazing pieces here..the attention to detail is fantastic.

  10. MELANIE EDJOURIAN
    June 4, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    That is a very varied selection of masks. The face masks by Conovastudion are pretty and really different too. Not seen any like that before.

  11. Marjie Mare
    June 4, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    The Ancestorial mask of the Dan people of Liberia is my favorite. I have the perfect spot for it at home.

  12. Anziee
    June 4, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Those are such gorgeous masks, so much creativity! I’d purchase these masks and keep them on display at my home😄 I wear N95 face masks whenever I go out.

  13. Romy
    June 4, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    Some really great points made here and yes, seems we as humans have been wearing masks of one kind or another forever. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Cel.
    June 4, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    This pandemic has forced and then inspired a lot of different product ideas in many product categories. I adore this post about the masks and their connection with mosaic.

  15. Heather
    June 4, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    There is something about mosaics. I just love everything about them.

  16. SM
    June 4, 2021 at 10:34 pm

    It’s amazing how masks have been around for so many years now, often being used as symbols, and now we’re circling back to them again. They’re really great for making a statement.

  17. RA
    June 5, 2021 at 5:10 am

    i agree, it may stay longer, loved the cute designs.

  18. Lyosha
    June 5, 2021 at 6:03 am

    oh wow! very creative ideas and usage of mosaic is very unexpected here. thank you for expanding my horizons.

  19. Sarah L Stockley
    June 5, 2021 at 7:44 am

    These are all so beautiful in their own unique ways. I love the mosaic designs.

  20. CA
    June 5, 2021 at 7:53 am

    I would love to look for a more fashionable mask, but I don’t think I want stones on them. I guess they will add some weight to the mask. I guess I’ll go for something from Isolated Heroes.

  21. Norma
    June 5, 2021 at 9:55 am

    Amazing blog post, that’s such a cute idea to put gems on masks. I would never wear that out but it would make such a cute Halloween costume.

  22. Sam S.
    June 5, 2021 at 11:10 am

    It is a wonder how masks have evolved through time. Though I love that Festive face mask, I wonder how long did it to make that mask.

  23. Jupiter Hadley
    June 5, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    What an interesting post! I’ve got a variety of masks that match my general outfits.

  24. F.P.
    June 5, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    Wow, These are awesome! They are really a work of art.

  25. sambo
    June 6, 2021 at 5:01 am

    These are very nice collection of all face masks. I love the Festive face mask by CraftExplosionCZ.

  26. Sonia Seivwright
    June 6, 2021 at 6:59 am

    I like fashion masks but not with stones. I feel it is dangerous for your breathing.

  27. rachel
    June 6, 2021 at 10:15 am

    It’s crazy how masks have been around forever, but that our uses today are so interesting.

  28. Nina
    June 6, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Originality and creativity have really flourished in the field of face masks, I am always amazed at the creations. Some of these masks are amazing.
    Nina

  29. Alita Pacio
    June 8, 2021 at 3:06 am

    This is really interesting. I think my favorite is the last mask.

  30. Marjie Mare
    June 8, 2021 at 8:56 pm

    Both I and my sister love maks. I truly enjoy this selection that you have shared.

  31. Clarice
    June 9, 2021 at 6:50 am

    This is such an interesting read. Super love the creativity. Can’t wait to glam up my mask too. Just like you said — the possibilities are endless.

  32. Prajakta
    June 9, 2021 at 8:15 am

    This is an interesting article to read. People have become so creative with masks these days. Loved some of the masks you posted.

  33. Paula Richie
    June 9, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    Interesting masks. I suppose one could really express creatively with them.

  34. Laine
    June 26, 2021 at 5:59 pm

    These mosaic masks are really unique looking and like nothing I have seen before. I would love to collect a few of them.