Transformation mask

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Transformation Mask (Kwakwaka'wakw: British Columbia, Canada) In the collection of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, here presented in an exhibition in Paris.

A transformation mask is a type of mask used by indigenous people of the Northwest Coast and Alaska in ritual dances. These masks usually depict an outer, animal visage, which the performer can open by pulling a string to reveal an inner, human face carved in wood. Northwest coast peoples generally use them in potlatches to illustrate myths, while they are used by Alaska natives for shamanic rituals.


See also[edit]


  • Shearar, Cheryl (2000). Understanding Northwest Coast Art: A Guide to Crests, Beings and Symbols. Vancouver: Douglas and McIntyre. ISBN 1-55054-782-8.

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