FEELINGS are the emotions we experience every day, like HAPPINESS, SADNESS, ANGER, or even EXCITEMENT or SURPRISE. How are you feeling today?
These masks are from different cultures all over the world. They are used in various ways: as a part of ceremonial dances, as funerary masks meant to honor loved ones who have passed away, or even as a pendant around someone’s neck, giving the wearer a new identity, maybe as an ancestor or a god.
Notice how the faces of each mask show different expressions. What feelings do you think each mask is trying to show? Which mask would you choose to wear today, based on how you’re feeling?
How Many Faces and Feelings Can You Create?
Grab a piece of paper and draw as many circles and ovals as you can fit on the page. They can be all different sizes or all the same; it’s up to you. Challenge yourself to fill each shape with a different face that represents a feeling.
Have everyone in your family create their own feelings page. After everyone is finished, trade papers with a family member. Pick one face that expresses how you are feeling right now. Take turns going through the faces on the page, acting out each of the expressions your partner has drawn. See if your family members can guess which feeling you’re acting out!
Take a picture of your faces and share your feelings using #CMAatHome.
Create a collaborative playlist and have a virtual dance party of feelings with your friends or family! First, make a list of everyone’s favorite songs. Try to pick songs that express a variety of feelings. Find a sad song, an excited song, a bored song. The possibilities are endless! Then come up with your own dance or movement to show that feeling. What does a sad dance look like? What does an excited or bored movement look like? Take turns with your friends using your favorite means of digital communication or dance it out with your family!
Need some inspiration? Take a look at these sculptures in the CMA’s collection. How do you think they are feeling? What song do you think they might be listening to? If they could move, what do you think they would look like? Can you find other examples of feelings in the CMA’s Collection Online?
Photograph your drawings and share your pictures and feelings using #CMAatHome.
JAPAN: Gigaku Mask: Suikojū, 710–94. Japan, Nara period. John L. Severance Fund, 1949.158
PERU: Funerary Mask, 1200–1500. Peru, South Coast, Chicha-Ica Valley area. The Norweb Collection, 1957.396
MEXICO: Miniature Mask, c. 900–400 BC. Mexico, Olmec. John L. Severance Fund, 1951.319
ITALY: Mask, AD 1–100. Italy, Roman. Charles W. Harkness Endowment Fund, 1929.918
EXTRA CHALLENGE: Pair of Guardian Kings (Niō), 1200s. Japan, Kamakura period. Leonard C. Hanna Jr. Fund, 1972.158