This mask refers to the Kwakiutl belief in the ability of animals and humans to transform into one another.
Richard Hunt, the artist who made this mask, preserves traditional Kwakiutl practices in wood sculpture.
According to Kwakiutl creation stories, there once
was a time when the only difference between birds, fish, animals
and humans was their skin covering, and they all could transform
themselves into other forms at will. Animals could become human
and humans could become animals. These ideas still guide Kwakiutl
religious traditions and make up the meaning of this Transformation
mask. As part of a dance (view
video of dance) the mask is opened and closed, showing the trans
of humans and animals.