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How to display African Masks Craft On The Wall

Updated: Apr 25

Displaying African masks as home decor can be a beautiful way to showcase art and culture from the African continent. Here are some steps and tips to help you effectively display African masks in your home:

  1. Choose a Theme or Style: African masks come in a wide variety of styles, representing different cultures, traditions, and artistic expressions. Before you start displaying them, decide on a theme or style that resonates with you and complements your existing home decor.

  2. Select the Right Masks: When choosing masks, consider their size, shape, color, and design. Look for masks that resonate with you aesthetically and align with the theme you've chosen.

  3. Create a Focal Point: Choose a central location in your home where you want to display the masks. This could be a prominent wall, a hallway, a mantel, or even a dedicated display shelf or cabinet.

  4. Arrange in Groups: African masks often look more impactful when displayed in groups or clusters rather than individually. Arrange masks of different sizes and shapes in a visually pleasing composition. Experiment with different arrangements before settling on one that works best.

  5. Balance and Symmetry: Aim for balance and symmetry in your arrangement. This doesn't mean everything has to be perfectly symmetrical, but a sense of balance can make the display more visually appealing.

  6. Use Proper Mounting and Hanging Techniques: Depending on the masks' weight and structure, you may need to use hooks, wall brackets, or stands to securely display them. Make sure to use appropriate hardware and follow the manufacturer's guidelines for safe mounting.

  7. Consider Lighting: Proper lighting can greatly enhance the visual impact of your display. Use spotlights or ambient lighting to highlight the masks and create a captivating atmosphere.

  8. Mix with Other Decor Elements: Integrate the masks into your existing decor by combining them with other elements like artwork, textiles, or sculptures that share a similar theme or color palette.

  9. Showcase Cultural Context: Consider adding a small plaque or description card near the display to provide information about the cultural significance of the masks and the regions they originate from.

  10. Rotate and Refresh: To keep your decor interesting and fresh, consider rotating the masks with different pieces or rearranging them periodically.

  11. Respectful Display: It's important to display African masks with respect for their cultural significance. Do some research about the masks you have and the cultures they represent to understand their meanings and traditions.

  12. Avoid Cultural Appropriation: Be mindful of cultural appropriation by displaying masks as art rather than using them inappropriately or insensitively as costume accessories.

  13. Maintenance: Regularly clean the masks to prevent dust buildup and maintain their beauty. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently remove dust without damaging the masks.

  14. Personal Connection: As you display these masks, try to develop a personal connection with the art and the cultures they represent. This will make the display more meaningful and impactful.

By following these steps, you can create a tasteful and culturally respectful display of African masks that adds a unique and vibrant touch to your home decor.

Wall space: whether it is home living room walls, stairways, dining and office wall space, lodges, or hotels, there is no limit on where to place the mask accent. But where to put them? That is the question.

When arranging a collection of masks, it is better to start with your favorite large piece, at eye level, and then work your way out, filling the available space with different sizes. You can try arranging them in different shapes like hexagons, squares, ovals, round, or straight lines whatever feels right for the space. For instance, if the wall space is large with lots of light, I would recommend the above photo option with many different masks, and if it's a smaller space I would recommend fewer masks if a staircase straight line would be more suited.

1. African masks cultural appropriation

We cannot talk about African masks without touching on the subject of their spiritual meanings.

A question that often comes up is whether it is ethical and culturally appropriate to display tribal masks in our homes. There is no one answer to that; some researchers say that most Masks in the market today have not Been used for spiritual rituals. Most are traded to tourists and resellers for business. Many of the original Masks were traded off over 50 years ago, and are now shown off in Western museums, or auctioned for millions of dollars to collectors.

In the African market, craftsmen sell replicas of the original masks, which serve in educating people on their cultural backgrounds and reselling to the world for income, The craft sustains over a million craftsmen and their families. The question of ethics and cultural appropriation should be on educating the cultural background to show appreciation and trying to visualize the craftsmen's intention when making the mask.


Tribal Masks are used for religious and social events to represent the spirits of the ancestors or to control the good and evil forces in the community. It comes to life when the mask is possessed by the spirits in a dance performance, enhanced by the music, color, and atmosphere of the occasion. Some combine human and animal features to unite man with his natural environment. This bond with nature and the spirit world is of great importance to many tribal cultures and through the ages, masks have always been used to express this relationship. the mask's spirit leaves the mask at the end of the ritual, and it is then disposed of.

3. African Traditional Mask History

The craft of mask-making is passed down from generation to generation, from father to son using the same styles and designs to preserve the original meaning, and traditional knowledge of the symbolic meanings conveyed by such masks.

The carved wooden masks can be dated as far as 8000 to 6000 BCE from sub-Saharan and West Africa.

African mask has made a significant appearance in the western world and even influenced art like the abstract art of Picasso and Andrea Derain in the early 1900s

While the blue period of Pablo Picasso is extremely well known his black period 1906-1909 in which the artist's painting was heavily influenced by African art remains relatively obscure by comparison. French colonization of Africa brought curious such as masks and statuettes to France as a novelty. Henri Matisse is credited with having piqued Picasso’s interest in African art after sharing with him a Congolese figurine had purchased. Modigliani and many other artists of the Paris school would combine these stylized human forms with painting techniques rooted in previous arts and styles such as post-impressionism. Picasso experienced a revelation as he studied and exhibited African art in an ethnographic museum …a month or two later painting “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon was complete. Featuring a coterie of feminine figures with faces resembling African masks. The work would go on to become the most famous cubist painting.


  • Masks add life to a room, making them more interesting, warm, and inviting.

  • Masks bring personality and dynamic mood and excitement to a room or place.

  • Knowledge of different cultures and authenticity

We source masks from the original crafters which not only allows them to benefit directly from the sale But also allows us to identify the specific origins of the masks piece

5. African Masks Design

pdf with sketches of types of African tribal masks, thanks to an arty factory

African Tribal masks
Download PDF • 1.50MB

  • Baule mask - Ivory Coast

  • Biombo Mask - DRC Congo

  • Bwa Plank Mask -Mali and Burkina Faso

  • Dan Mask – Ivory coast and Liberia

  • Goma Mask - DRC Congo

  • Kota Mask - Gabon and DRC Congo

  • Kwele Mask - Gabon, Cameroon and DRC Congo

  • Ligbi Mask - Ivory Coast

  • Lulua Mask - DRC Congo

  • Lwalwa Mask - DRC Congo and Angola

  • Pende Mask - DRC Congo

  • Punu Mask - Gabon and Angola

  • Senufo Mask - Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali

  • Teke Mask - DRC Congo and Gabon

  • Woyo Mask - DRC Congo

  • Yohure Mask - Ivory Coast

  • Tikar Mask - Cameroon

  • Chokwe Mask - Angola

  • Bamilele Mask - Mali

  • Bokota Mask - Ghana

  • Goli Mask - Ghana

  • Guro Mask - Ivory

  • Luba Mask - Congo


Picasso and most of his contemporaries did not give African art -or indigenous artisans – the credit they deserved for inspiring new conceptions of art style and techniques. Fortunately, a number of art museums in Paris and generally Europe are making a serious effort to emphasize and demystify how African art contributed to featuring the works of famous artists are displayed alongside spirit masks to provide historical and artistic context for celebrated works they helped inspire.

Given what I have researched I personally think that there is no harm in having masks for decoration as long as you are respectful and knowledgeable about the cultural background. as earlier said they bring character to a room.

What do you know about African Masks?

Share with us your knowledge on Masks, we will appreciate it.

Tulia Africa Store

We source masks from the original crafters which not only allows them to benefit directly from the sale But also allows us to identify the specific origins of the masks piece


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