• Native America

    Tribal art’s influence on modern art

    A wooden mask from the Yukon River region of Alaska (ca. 1890–1910). To its right: Francis Picabia’s painting, Monstre (1946). The French artist André Breton once owned the Alaskan wooden mask (ca. 1890–1910) that a gallery paired alongside one of Francis Picabia’s monster paintings. Surrealist artists long admired these Yup’ik masks from the central Alaskan coast, which were made in the hopes of divining bountiful hunts. Breton, Man Ray, and Yves Tanguy all collected the masks beginning in 1934. They saw it as Surrealism from another time and place. African masks are not the only tribal art that had an influence on the modern art of Europe. The second mask…

  • Native America

    Tsimshian cedar mask from NWC

    Q:  I believe you may have used my King Island mask in your book. You were impressed with it front and back. In any case I just bought a mask and would like you to look at it. It was on eBay and I made an offer as he sent an appraisal letter. Not sure what to think about it and wanted another set of eyes to look at it. Thank you, Jim, 1298 A:  I question whether this mask is from the late 19th century or was ever used in ceremony. Appraisals like the one you got are meant to please the customer. Accuracy is not guaranteed. Regardless, this…

  • Native America

    Koryak mask from Siberia

    In Siberia, wood masks were used only by the Koryak people and were of simple construction, usually depicting gaunt-faced men. Animal masks or masks of semi-human beings, so widely used in North America, were not known. The reduced importance of masquerade in Northeastern Siberia as compared with northwestern America makes them hard to find. Koryak masks are most similar to masks of Native Americans from Barrow, Alaska.  Bob, 1286

  • Native America

    Indian Moon mask, Pacific Northwest

    This is a large circular mask carved from alder featuring a central human face set in a wide, flat radial border. The mask was made by artist and carver Peter Prevost of British Columbia, Canada and is Haida in style. The rim of the mask is carved wood and the face protrudes outward from the rim and has eye holes plus an open mouth. I got this on an interesting website by the Smithsonian Institution that is called www.grius.si.edu

  • Native America

    Iroquois false face mask

    Q:  I’m 22 years old. I have been fascinated with masks all my life. Decided to study art oriented towards sculpture to make my own designs so for the last year I’ve been working with masks in parallel with the university. I’ve worked with papier mache and latex, made some replicas and some personal designs. I also collect masks. You wanted some more shots of my False Face piece, so here they are. what can you tell me about it?   Tomas, 1261 A:  The False Faces are masks carved from the living trunk of a tree.  These masks represent the strange, wild beings who inhabit the forests and rarely, only…

  • Native America

    Photos of old Navajo masks

    Spiritual healing: Fascinating colorized images show Navajo men wearing eerie masks of the gods used during a medical ritual in the early 20th century Edward S Curtis was paid $75,000 in the early 1900s by J P Morgan to document the North American Indians. He spent the next 20 years observing their culture, taking more than 40,000 images of 80 different tribes. This series examines the Navajo Night Chant, a healing ceremony involving masked men dressed as deities. The ritual lasts for nine days during which the patient is regularly sweated and attended by the masked figures. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5171113/100-year-old-images-Navajo-gods-used-healing-ritual.html#ixzz51HPZJE00 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  • Native America

    Another Eskimo mask from Alaska

      Q:  I bought a series of Yup’ik masks from an antique dealer–they were from an estate sale and had been originally purchased in the 1950s.  I just wanted your opinion of this particular one (which is one of the two best ones in the collection). The dimensions are 22″ high, 8″ wide for mask alone, 14″ wide including lattice sticks on side (which I think represent ripples in the water) but not including appendages, and about 2 1/2″ depth for mask alone (not including appendages).  Matthew, 1234 A:  Yup’ik masks play an important role in the ceremonial life of these Eskimos who live close to the Bering Sea. A…

  • Native America

    How masks help tell the legend of the Wild Woman

    Tsonokwa transformation masks made by artist Scott Jensen are part of the Whatcom Museum education collection. The story of Tsonokwa (Dzunuk’wa, Tsonoqua) or Wild Woman of the Woods, is a Northwest Coast Native legend about a mythical, dark-haired, large female being who captures children and carries them home in a basket to eventually eat them. Parents used the Tsonokwa story as a warning to keep their children safe and discourage them from venturing too far into the forest “or Tsonokwa might get you and eat you.” In the story, the children usually manage to outwit Tsonokwa and escape from her captivity. Many Northwest Coast native artists have created cedar masks…

  • Native America

    Eskimo artifacts: fantasy in a cold climate

    This is part of an article by Susan More in the Sep 29, 2017 Financial Times. Both masks are Yup’ik and, if you found one, it better be a recently-made fake or you surely wouldn’t be able to afford it. These are more Surreal than we are!, an indignant André Breton apparently exclaimed when he first encountered a Yup’ik ceremonial mask in New York. It is little wonder that the Surrealists were fascinated by these colored, strikingly adorned artifacts since they are among the most inventive, expressive and fantastical of all tribal arts. We threw ourselves into the poetic atmosphere of the Eskimo masks. We breathe in Alaska, we dream…

  • Native America

    Native American Octopus mask

    Q:  Got this mask from a neighbor who passed away. Was told a few names who it could be from the signature, done a lot of research and can’t confirm an artist nor tribe.  Logan, 1224 A:  Let’s not give up on this excellent, very original tribal mask from the Northwest Coast of Canada or the US called “Transforming Octopus.” Unfortunately I can’t read the carver’s signature. There are a number of skilled Indian carvers from this area and plenty of collectors from all over who could help us learn more about this mask. I hope some of them make a comment. Here’s my comment. NWC Indian carvers make some…