Saturday, October 01, 2005
Wedding Portrait Mask, Ghana, Africa. Gary Westford at LBCC put together an amazing exhibit of African artifacts at our main campus library, including this wonderful mask that shows two faces coming together as one. I don't know more about this mask, but I'm fascinated by the double image for in Benin (also in Southwest Africa), traditional stories about sacred or heavenly twins are common, originally from creation stories. Could this mask be actually a mask of twins but sold to tourists as a "wedding portrait mask"? My question comes because usually masks show gender -- and here the gender is subsumed. That could be reinforcing the melding of two to one in a marriage. So, more research is needed.
Geoffrey Parrinder talks about the primeval twins who were the parents of all other gods. Their first act was to create 7 pairs of twins (for example, the twins of Storm), all to rule different aspects of the earth, a neat turn on animism (page 23) in African Mythology (New York: Barnes & Noble 1996).