Siberian shaman’s metal masks

This is a flat piece of metal pounded into an old man’s face. Many holes dot the entire edge of the mask which could have been connected to some kind of decoration. It was found in the early 20th century in Evenk, a village of the transbaikal region of  Siberia. The indigenous people living there are similar to Native Alaskans. It would have been used by a local shaman in ceremonies to cure illness, protect against danger and encouraging prosperity. 10 inches high.

Traditionally, the term shamanism can be defined as a single system which includes a special outlook. It is aimed at the direct perception of the world, understanding the relationship of man and nature. Shamanism has divided the world into sacred and mundane. The basis of it is the belief in spirits and nature deities, souls, spirit-helpers of a shaman. Thanks to Russian travelers and research scientists in Siberia the word shaman, taken from the Tungus languages, became known throughout the world.

Nowadays we can use the term to replace words like “witch doctor, medicine man, healer and kahuna.” They are all persons regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, especially among the indigenous peoples around the world. Shamen enter a trance state during a ritual and practice divination and healing. Various types of music, smoke, powders, liquids, etc, are part of the ritual. Needless to say, masks are often worn.

I’m going to continue posting masks from parts of the world rarely visited. Please feel free to contribute pictures of an unusual mask in your collection.

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