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This article is on masks as an article of clothing; see Mask (disambiguation) for other meanings.

This article is part of the
Hats and Headgear series:
Overview of headgear
Hats; Bonnets; Caps
Hoods; Helmets; Wigs
Masks; Veils; Scarves
Tiaras; Crowns
List of hats and headgear

A mask is a piece of material worn on the face.

Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes.

Ceremonial uses include being worn in religious functions, where participants wear them to represent certain spiritual figures. The use of masks in the dramatic plays in Ancient Greece evolved from this purpose. The mask is also one of the defining characteristics of the Noh theatre of Japan.

The practical uses of masks include protection and disguise.

The protective functions of masks can be divided into two predominant categories:

Masks are also commonly used to prevent the wearer from being recognized. They have been used in entertainment to provide an aura of mystery with professional wrestlers, as well as entertainers like the Unknown Comic, who always wore a paper bag over his head.

Criminals often use masks to avoid identification when they commit crimes. In many jurisidictions, it is an additional criminal offense to wear a mask while committing a crime.

A "life mask" is a plaster cast of a face, used as a model for portraiture or sculpture. A "death mask" is similarly taken from the cast of a recently deceased model. Both methods can preserve a realistic three-dimensional portrait.

See also: