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Masks - 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.

Related Information within this Site
[ Dance ][ Hopi ][ Iroquois ][ Kachina ][ Man-Being ][ Manitou ]