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Key Ideas
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.

Northwest Coast Southwest Mississippi Valley Northeast Woodlands Plains
Introduction --
Transformation Mask Label: Richard Hunt, Kwakiutl, born 1951, Northwest Coast region (United States), Transformation Mask, 1993, Cedar, pigment, cloth, string and wood, The Anne and Hadlai Hall Fund, 93.42

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.

Kwakiutl tribal web site:

Rattle Makah Basket Transformation Mask Native American History and Culture


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