The oldest mask found is from 7000 BC. The invention of masks could potentially be older, but because the oldest masks were made of wood and leather, they did not last. They were generally similar in overall appearance but differed in style and the way they were used.
The earliest use of masks were for ceremonies and rituals. Ritual masks were made for such things as communicating with ancestral spirits and animals. Masks with closed eyes symbolized tranquility, while bulging foreheads symbolized wisdom. War masks were made to scare enemies and featured big eyes, painted colors and angry features carved or painted on the mask.