Published on May 15, 2014 by Amy
Native American masks masks are beautiful, mysterious, frightening, silly … the purpose of masks, as with most things associated with the Native cultures, vary from tribe to tribe – some spiritual, some healing, some for entertaining. Native Americans had a deep relationship with animals in their environment and adopted the “spirit” of various animals to help them on their life’s quest. It was believed that when a person put on a mask for ceremonies, the spirit of the animal depicted in the mask entered the person wearing it and share in the spirit/power of that animal. Some masks were portrait masks, intended to portray an important figure. Some were used by a culture’s secret society, for instance a war society or a healing society. Some were worn by shamans. Some were used in the Northwest Coast’s potlatch ceremonies.
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The Cherokee would craft their Native American masks from gourds for storytelling. This crafting has dramatically decreased with the forced removal of the Cherokee from their traditional lands and the gourds used to make the masks were unavailable in the new locations.
Collecting or Purchasing of Native American masks…