Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article is about masks fitted on the face as an article of clothing or equipment. See Mask (disambiguation) for other meanings.
The word "mask" came via French masque and either Italian maschera or Spanish másquera. Possible ancestors are Latin (not classical) mascus, masca = "ghost", and Arabic maskharah = "jester", "man in masquerade".
Many masks come at the same time into more than one of these categories.
- In ritual, social and religious functions, where participants wear them to represent spiritual or legendary figures. In some cultures it is also believed that the wearing of a mask will allow the wearer to take on the attributes of that mask's representation; i.e., a leopard-mask will induce the wearer to become leopard-like.
- In theatre plays. Use of masks in the dramatic plays in Ancient Greece evolved from the ceremonial purpose. Masks are also a defining characteristic of the Noh theatre of Japan. The English word "person" came from a Latin word for a theatrical mask: per-sona = "through-sound" = "what the actor's voice comes through". The Ancient Greek word prosōpon = "face" originally meant "in front of the face", i.e. "theatrical mask".
- To provide an aura of mystery with professional wrestlers, as well as entertainers like the Unknown Comic, who always wore a paper bag over his head.
- As a part of carnival celebrations in some parts of the world; Venice is most famous for this.
- As part of the costume of a particular personage like Harlequin or a modern comic book superhero.
- Latex masks are used in cinema as part of elaborate character makeup.
- Here also may be included masks worn at masquerade balls.
To stop the wearer from being recognized
- Criminals often use masks to avoid identification when they commit crimes. In many jurisidictions, it is an additional criminal offense to wear a mask while committing a crime; it is also often a crime to wear a mask at public assemblies and demonstrations.
- Occasionally a witness for the prosecution appears in court in a mask to avoid being recognized by associates of the accused.
Protective masks have these functions:-
- Providing a supply of breathable air or other oxygen-containing gas.
- Protecting the face against flying objects or dangerous environments, while allowing vision.
- A cloth tied over the mouth and nose as a dust filter.
- Filter masks.
- Gas masks.
- The familiar eyes-and-nose diving mask.
- Breathing masks connected to some industrial breathing sets. These are usually fullface.
- Breathing masks connected to some underwater breathing sets. These are usually fullface. See this link and this link for examples.
- Oxygen masks worn by high-altitude pilots.
- Oxygen masks used as part of medical oxygen resuscitation kit.
- Anaesthetic masks used in surgery in hospitals.
- Sport masks such as fencing masks or ice hockey and American football goalkeeper's masks.
- Ski masks.
- Welder's masks.
- The faceplates of spacesuit helmets.
Of masks that supply breathable air, some also cover the eyes (full-face); and some only cover the mouth and nose, and the wearer must also wear goggles.
- A "life mask" is a plaster cast of a face, used as a model for making a painting or sculpture.
- A "death mask" is the same but taken from the face of a recently dead model. Death masks were very popular in the Western World during the 18th and 19th century.
Both methods can preserve a realistic three-dimensional portrait.
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