Importance of Native American Masks

Published on November 1, 2011 by Amy

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Native American Mask
Native American Mask

Native American masks were an important part of the Native American culture. They were used during ceremonies, given as gifts, and each one was hand crafted. They have a special charm that comes from the significance behind the art; the significance of the Native American way of life.

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Native American masks were usually created in the likeness of an animal. These animals represented certain Native American ideas such as spirits, status, and characteristics. In addition, some Native Americans believed that each clan was descended from a different animal. This meant that some Native American masks related to the clan the Indians were from.

In addition to creating Native American masks with animal characteristics, they also created portrait masks. These masks were modeled after a certain person. This type of mask would depict the status of the person who the mask was modeled after.

There are three different types of Native American masks. One is a single face mask which is just a simple mask. Then there is a mechanical mask that can contain moving parts. For example, this can be eyes that open and shut. The last type is a transformation mask. This is more like two or more masks in one. The outer mask opens up to reveal another mask. The second mask may open up to reveal a third and so on.

Native American masks were constructed out of the materials they had on hand. This means many of the masks were made out of wood. Paint would be formed out of materials that were readily available. Also, items such as feathers, hair, straw and other elements may be added for further decoration.

Today Native American masks have developed their own market following. These pieces of Native American culture are collected by art lovers all over the world. Each mask is unique and carries its own charm.

Source: indians Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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