Ritual Masks: Deceptions and Revelations
By Henry Pernet. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1992.
I translated this work by a fellow Historian of Religions from French to English.
The original, entitled Mirages du Masques, was published by Labor et Fides (Geneva).
Ritual masking is an important institution in many traditional societies and has attracted much attention from Western scholars. In ‘Ritual Masks’, Pernet provides a thorough survey of masks and masking traditions in Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, based on a close analysis of the literature in several languages. Pernet’s approach provides him with an opportunity to examine issues of importance to the history of religion and anthropology. These include the influence of theory on the interpretation of prehistoric documents; androcentrism in anthropology and the history of religions; and Western scholarship’s recurrent problems in interpreting preliterate or traditional societies.