Let’s remember that the the first people here in the US and Canada were making great folk art a thousand years ago… and still do. Check out this recently used mask made by the Heiltsuk people of Bella Bella, British Columbia. The tradition of masquerade is alive and well in the NWC area. Masks like this one are used in religious ceremonies, and many more are carefully produced for collectors. We should be thankful that our first inhabitants are willing share their art with all of us.
Let me point out that very few NWC masks are asymmetrical, as is this one. In the book Masks of the World, by Ibold and Yohn, page 89 shows a full-page photo of a canoe mask from the Nootka people of Vancouver Island that is also not symmetrical. The one shown here would be quite expensive since it obviously has been used in culture. A
The second mask was recently done by Kwa Kwa ka’ wakw carver Bill Henderson for collectors. It represent Pugwis, the man of the sea who is kind of similar to Big Foot. He is often portrayed with a sea bird or sea life on the top of his head. On this mask it is a sea urchin. A
Categories: Native America