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Mesolithic headdress

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It is possible that the headdresses from Star Carr were used to transform their human wearers into animals as an element in some sort of ritual. This concept of transformation is important in traditions of masking through time and across cultures. In Mesolithic Britain, the transformation was probably related to success in hunting red deer. Other uses of a mask may include driving away demons, evoking the support of dead ancestors and making present gods and other spiritual beings. Here is a selection of masks from around the world that illustrate some of the uses to which they are put.

Sri Lankan mask

Sri_Lanka_mask

A painted wooden mask of a demon from Sri Lanka.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aoa/p/painted_wooden_mask_of_a_demon.aspx

Bolivian mask

Bolivia_mask

A mask for the Dance of the Devils festival, from Bolivia.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aoa/d/diablada_dance_mask.aspx

Bulgarian mask

Bulgaria_mask

A mask for a fertility festival, from Bulgaria.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aoa/m/mask_from_a_kukeri_masquerade.aspx

Canadian mask

Canada_mask

An ancestor mask from British Columbia, Canada.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aoa/n/namgis_mask.aspx

Japanese mask

Japan_mask

A Nō theatre mask from Japan.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/asia/n/n%C5%8D_mask_of_a_young_woman.asphttp://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/asia/n/n%C5%8D_mask_of_a_young_woman.aspx

Micronesian mask

Micronesia_mask

A wooden mask from Micronesia.

See more See more: http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aoa/w/wooden_mask.aspx
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Mesolithic headdress