Animal masks might actually represent the spirit of animals, so that the mask-wearer becomes a medium to speak to animals themselves e. Antelopes have a fundamental role in many cultures of the Mali area for example in Dogon and Bambara culture as representatives of agriculture. Bambara antelope masks called chiwara have long horns representing the thriving growth of millet , legs representing roots , long ears representing the songs sung by the working women at harvest time , and a saw-shaped line that represents the path followed by the Sun between solstices. Merging distinct animal traits together is sometimes a means to represent unusual, exceptional virtue or high status. For example, the Poro secret societies of the Senufo people of the Ivory Coast have masks that celebrate the exceptional power of the society by merging three different "danger" symbols: antelope horns, crocodile teeth, and warthog fangs.
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Among the Turkana,cicatrization is a common form of beautification. She wears a crucifix given to her by a missionary; they are popular ornaments despite not necessarily being associated with Christianity. Rights-Managed A pretty young Turkana girl has already had the flesh below her lower lip pierced in readiness for a brass ornament after her marriage. The rims of her ears have also been pierced and the holes kept open with small wooden sticks. Rights-Managed A young Turkana girl adorned with necklaces of a style the Southern Turkana prefer to wear. Rights-Managed A young Pokot woman sings to celebrate the opening of a new pre primary school at Ngaini, a remote area of the Kerio Valley.
The Maasai are well known for their unique culture and tribal dress. Due to their distinct traditions, customs and dress and their residence near the many national game parks of East Africa, the Maasai are among the foremost African ethnic groups and are known internationally because of their links to the national parks and reserves. They also speak the official languages of Tanzania and Kenya. Swahili and English. Population - The Maasai population is now estimated Although the Kenyan and Tanzanian governments have established programs to encourage the Maasai to leave behind their traditional semi-nomadic lifestyle, the Maasai people have carried on their age-old customs.