Masks in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum
Author: Pedro Ceinos-Arcones
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Masks are one of the most universal cultural objects, being present in peoples and nations of the five continents. As one of their most archaic artistic and religious manifestations, masks have accompanied human beings for millennia. Wherever one looks, in primitive or elevated cultures, tribal peoples or great empires, masks are a global cultural phenomenon created by human ingenuity for a series of religious activities.
As Yunnan province is home to the largest number of national minorities in China, it is not surprising that the Yunnan Nationalities Museum's collection of masks is one of the richest and most varied of China.
Given the characteristics of their ethnic and regional cultures, the masks found in Yunnan are known for their variety of materials, distinctive appearance, exquisite workmanship and wide range of uses.