The word Motya comes from the name of an island off the coast of Sicily once inhabited by the Phoenicians. A culture shrouded in mystery, they were prolific traders who were remarkably open to other civilisations. After being conquered by Dionysius the I of Syracuse after a long siege, the island’s cities were destroyed and never rebuilt. Within the ruins of a temple, modern-day archeologists found what have come to be known as Motya Masks. These depict the faces of women, some terrifying, others charming. They are believed to have been part of ancient rituals, allowing the person who donned them to transform, and take on the person of deities and spirits. The use of masks in this way connects us to another side of ourselves we don’t yet know - morphing in moments of difficulty into a brave heroine, or finding a gentle nurturer within our psyche in times of trouble.
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