Masks from Kenya

May 23, 2012

African masks are widely used throughout the mid and western sections of Africa. The African considers the mask as a necessary ritual cult object. Features of each mask are distinct for each area and African tribal masks can easily be identified as to their origin. In Africa, Kenya is considered to be rich in the tradition of mask making.

South West Kenyan Soapstone Mask


The Masai are an indigenous African ethnic tribe of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya. Masks are worn by the Masai as a symbol of passage to adulthood. Each Kenyan Masai mask personifies the detail the Masai tribe.

Kenyan Masai Warrior Mask

The Akamba people of Kenya are famous all over the world for their unique mask making skills, which are passed from generation to generation. The Akamba mask carvers of Kenya carves mask out of mahogany wood. Each Kenyan mask has great detail and vivid coloration in traditional colors. All Kenyan masks are totally handcrafted from a single piece of wood and painted using natural dyes.

Animal Mask from Kenya

Wood is the most common material used for making Kenyan masks. Besides wood, mask makers also use ivory, metals, and beads. The masks are then decorated with a variety of plant fibers, paints, colored glass, beads, nails, shells and metal adornments. These items not only add to the overall appearance of the mask but to the actual power you can feel emanating from within as the mask takes on its very own character. The Kenyan mask carver believes that the tree has a spiritual soul and its wood is the most natural home for the spirit in the mask. The tools used to make a carving are also endowed with their own particular spirits.

Hand Carved Mask by Kisii Tribe of Kenya

People across the world consider masks a work of art. So, make a striking statement in your living room or office with a beautiful handmade mask from the Kenyan tribes. Experience the tradition of Kenya with a Masai mask or an animal mask. Buy them as a gift or just a personal treasure.

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