This mask was created by contemporary Kwagiulth artist Buddy George. Called “Moon with Snakes” mask, it depicts a cosmological theme, as many Northwest Coast legends do. It embodies the moon, a celestial being that was, according to legend, released into the world by the trickster, Raven. Before Raven released the sun, moon and stars, there was no light in the world. The parallel serpents on the mask represent the balance people strive for in life. Among Northwest Coast peoples, masks were traditionally worn during special dances and ceremonies to explain the wonder of the universe. They represented powerful ancestral spirits and were used to make the supernatural world visible. Typically, animals and creatures were represented within four dimensions of the Cosmos: Sky World, Mortal World, Undersea World, and Spirit World. Masks were and continue to be worn during Winter Ceremonies (called Potlatch"), a community event that hosts a series of songs, dances and rituals. During these ceremonies, masks are danced in ceremonial houses to recount stories, instill values and to entertain. Specific masks and dances usually belong to specific families or individuals. Children are often given a role and encouraged to learn dances, stories and songs.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
This file is licensed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Indians of North America
Indians of North America -- Northwest Coast of North America
Indians of North America -- Rites and ceremonies
Indian dance -- North America
Indians of North America -- Folklore
Further information on this record can be found at its source.