Native American Masks

Annie Damman

Background history

The definition of a mask is a covering for all or part of the face, worn as a disguise, or to amuse or terrify other people.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 date back to ancient times and are significant to the Native american way of life.Some masks would show animal characteristics, they also created portrait masks. These masks were modeled after a certain person. This type of mask would show the status of the person who the mask was modeled after.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.

Mask Stylization

There are three main types of Native American masks. The first is the basic single face mask. The second is a mechanical mask that features moving parts. The third is a transformation mask which has multiple masks built into it that the wearer reveals at different points during its use. I noticed different artistic things in every mask. I didn't find any masks that looked alike. They all had different color movement and texture going on. I would describe the style of the masks as cultural. The vibrant colors and different types of masks is what makes it distinct. There are a lot of shapes worked into the masks as well.
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My opinion

I was very impressed on the special charm each mask expressed. I really liked how they were all different and each had their own use and reflected something different. Something I didn't like was how they aren't symbolic for anything besides animals in general. I wish there would have been more specific masks. Each mask was eye-catching and drew my attention to it. Overall, each mask was unique and I learned a lot about the Native American culture just by looking at the masks.