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Rasta Art and Masks

African Masks and Art of the Rast People of Ethiopia


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Rasta Mask 20
African Masks and Art SoldAfrican Masks - Rasta Mask 20 

Rasta Mask 22
African Masks - Rasta Mask 22 

Rasta Mask 25
African Masks - Rasta Mask 25 

Rasta Mask 27
African Masks - Rasta Mask 27 

Rasta Mask 28
African Masks - Rasta Mask 28 

Rasta Mask 29
African Masks - Rasta Mask 29 

Rasta Mask 1
African Masks - Rasta Mask 1 


Rasta Mask 33
African Masks - Rasta Mask 33 

Rasta Mask 34
African Masks - Rasta Mask 34 

Rasta Mask 36
African Masks - Rasta Mask 36 

Rasta Mask 37
African Masks - Rasta Mask 37 

Rasta Mask 38
African Masks - Rasta Mask 38 

  The Rastafarian religion worships the deceased Ethiopian regent and emperor, Haille Salassie as the second coming of Christ. It originated in Jamaica in the 1930's and coincided with Selassie's heroic efforts to defend Ethiopia against invasions by Italy, under Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in the Second Italo-Abyssinian War ("Abyssinia" was the name for the Ethiopian Empire). Selassie's bravery against the superior arms of the Italians, as well as his prominence on the world stage as a political thinker, drew a cult-like following which survives today.
The term Rastafari derives from "Ras", an Ethiopian word meaning head or leader, and Selassie's birth name "Tafari Makonnen." Hence, Rastafari means "leader Tafari". Though Selassie never directly claimed to be a deity, the name he took upon becoming emperor hinted as much: Haille Selassie, means "Power of the Trinity"; and he poignantly passed up several opportunities to deny his own divinity, most notably on a visit to Jamaica in 1966. Selassie exercised extraordinary influence over his county's identity, serving as its Regent from 1916 to 1930, and Emperor from 1930 to 1974 - a total of 58 years as head of state. He was extremely well-traveled, and greatly increased the international prestige of Ethiopia.
While centered in Jamaica, Rastafarian communities exist in many countries including The United States, The United Kingdom, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Japan, Sudan, and Ethiopia. The Rastafarian movement holds that Selassie will return one day and lead Rastafarians to a paradise in Ethiopia.
The Rasta masks in our collection, like most Rasta masks, feature the famous dreadlocks by which most Rastafarians can be identified. Several theories seek to explain the origin of this hairstyle, among them is that they are an imitation of the Mau Mau warriors of Kenya who created the "dreaded lock" hairstyle to frighten their enemies in battle. The name has been truncated to "dreadlock." These African masks, made of wood in Ethiopia, are hand rubbed to a dark finish on the front and feature ritual scarifications on the face, a tradition of many African warriors. The dreadlocks are accomplished by hanging hollow pieces of Bamboo on strong strips of cloth, or sometimes leather.
 Research Archives: Rasta



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