MASKS OF THE WORLD presented masks from twenty countries throughout the world — from Indonesia, Japan and Korea to the Islands of the South Pacific to various countries of Africa. They came from Mingei International Museum’s permanent collection, the San Diego Museum of Man, the Chinese Association of San Diego and private collections.
Made from a great variety of materials, including wood, papier mache, clay, fiber, straw and beads, masks depict myriad aspects of life and answer a human need to conceal as well as amplify emotions. They are strongly expressive art forms in all cultures, from the so-called primitive to those considered the most sophisticated, and are used in initiation, healing and death rites, mythic story telling and religious ceremonies, theater and masquerade balls.
The exhibition was funded in part by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program.