Learn about Native American Masks

Learn about Native American Masks

Typically carved from wood, masks are a common component of many Native American ceremonies. Though there are variances between tribes, most of these masks were created to be worn in rituals and celebrations. Always made by hand, these pieces were often created in the likeness of animals or beings and it was believed that the wearer of the mask personated and characterized those animals or beings. Portrait masks of important figures in Native American culture were also created.

Native American Navajo made clay maskDifferent styles of masks were created by tribes according to their use and the materials available in their area. Single face masks, mechanical masks, and transformation masks were the most common.

Single Face Mask

Carved from a single piece of wood, these masks represent the face of a single animal or important figure.

Mechanical Mask

Designed with strings and hinges to create moving parts, the mechanical mask often had eyes and a mouth that opened and shut.

Transformation Mask

Created with multiple layers, the first layer of a transformation mask was typically pulled away to reveal another face during a ceremony or dance. A heavy piece, transformation masks were worn only by strong individuals and could have many layers in their design.

Designed and painted from materials on hand, masks were painted with crushed berries and plants and decorated with feathers, corn husks and straw. Visit Kachina House online or at 2920 Hopi Drive in Sedona, Arizona to find a handcrafted mask of your own.

 

 

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2 Responses to Learn about Native American Masks

  1. Hi –

    I’m trying to identify a mask (origin, date) and would like to forward some pictures to you if possible, via email. Please send your email address if you’re willing to look at a couple of pictures. Thank you.

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