- The false faces of the Indians. Many Indians wore masks during
ceremonies, but sometimes young people wore them during certain festivities.
The wearing of masks had definite meanings
at all times. Masks represented some sort of animal, or some one
of the Indian's manitous, man beings, or gods. Whenever an indian
put on a mask he believed he was assuming the character of the animal or
being while he wore it.
Masks were made from wood, basketwork,
pottery, or hides, and were carved, painted, and decorated with shells,
fibers, hair, or feathers. Some masks were male and others female.
The Iroquois carved their masks from wood,
first cutting it out on the tree itself, and then removing it. The
mask was supposed to contain the spirit of the tree. if the tree
died after the operation, the mask was not used.
The Hopi made little dolls to represent
their kachinas, or gods, and also masks which gave the wearer the
identity of the kachina. Thus when a person wore one of these
masks he was for the time being transformed into the god the mask represented.
within this Site
][ Hopi ][ Iroquois
][ Kachina ][ Man-Being
][ Manitou ]