African masks are seen as part of the ceremonial costume. They are used in religious and social events to represent spirits of ancestors or to control the good and evil in the community. They come to life, as they are possessed by their spirit in the performance of the dance. The bond of nature is essential to the African and masks are used to express this relationship. The masks can also represent the spirit of the animal.
Several African tribes believe that wearing animal carvings on their masks will improve communication with animal spirits. For example, the lion is a symbol of courage, and the monkey represents comedy and friendship. Ritual ceremonies often depict deities, spirits of ancestors and mythological beings. During the ceremony, the dancer goes into a deep trance, and he communicates with his ancestors.