Traditional masks on display at MTR

An exhibition of peasant masks made by artisan Ion Albu of Timisesti, Neamt County, will open at the Aquarium Hall of the Romanian Peasant Museum Friday, November 27. Celebrated nationwide and abroad for his original mask creations, Ion Albu keeps crafting anthropomorphic and zoomorphic masks with the help of such simple tools as the knife, scissors, the needle and the tongs. Mr. Albu grew up in a typically Moldavian village environment marked by a rich and original folk culture full of beautiful and interesting customs. His family has cultivated mask-making for more than half a century. Over the years, the craftsmen created an original artistic style of masks depicting bears, goats or old men faces, for which the artisan uses a wide range of raw materials: clothes, sheep skins, pieces of fabric, beans. With bulging eyes, threatening fangs coming out of the mouth and a huge nose, the old men masks appear to belong to some evil characters.

The expressions of the masks representing old men, twelve in all, signify the twelve months of the year. They have the role to protect and drive evil spirits away. The exhibition will run November 27 through December 3.

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