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Masks reveal unknown worlds

Updated: 2013-07-12 09:41
By Lin Qi ( China Daily)

Five years after it signed a memorandum of cooperation with the National Museum of China, the Paris-based Musee du Quai Branly is finally coming to Beijing with an exhibition of 100 masks expressing the dramatic link between people and the unknown world.

The Masks: Beauty of the Spirits exhibition showcases imaginative works from a number of African, Asian, American and Oceanic collections at Quai Branly. The museum was opened in 2006 and is devoted entirely to non-Western arts.

Masks reveal unknown worlds

Paris-based Musee du Quai Branly is bringing to Beijing an exhibition of masks.

"The masks act as a passage, a door, through which people are able to see the forces of the untouchable. When wearing a mask, people can talk to the spirits and phenomena they can't see or feel,"says Yves Le Fur, the exhibition's French co-curator and director of Quai Branly's heritage and collections department.

"The masks are inhabited with spirits, which sometimes represent justice while other times are pessimistic and even violent.

"In a word, the masks are an art of spirits,"he says.

The curating process took over a year before exhibitors on both sides agreed on an exhibiting plan which would best explain to Chinese audiences how unfamiliar cultures manifested their ancestors' strength and supernatural powers.

The masks are so widely dispersed within their regions that a keyword is attached to each section to sum up their distinct cultural characters.

The African masks underlined the art of "meditation"for they helped preserve the harmony between man and nature. The Oceanic masks represent an "ephemeral"approach as they link people with their ancestors.

Masks reveal unknown worlds

Masks reveal unknown worlds

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