West Coast Native Transformation Masks

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As their name implies, Native American Indian Transformation Masks are designed to show a transformation; usually an animal changing into another animal or a mythical creature. The transformation masks are worn by First Nations dancers during ceremonies and they pull on strings to open and move the mask, causing the transformation.

The transformations often involve trickster supernaturals (a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or animal with a high intellect or secret knowledge that it uses to play tricks). The raven, for instance, is often seen as a trickster that changes into other creatures, and helps humans by giving them useful things such as the sun, moon, fire, and salmon. The Thunderbird is also commonly used in Transformation Masks. It is a mythical creature that causes thunder when it beats its’ wings, and lightning comes from its’ eyes. It lives in the heavenly realm, and he can transform to human form.
Transformation Mask Design and Materials
In general, Transformation Masks are carved from red cedar wood, an important and commonly used material by many West Coast Native American Indians and are often painted with bright colours. These Masks can take months or sometimes years to create due to their complexity.

Please view our gallery to find authentic Transformation Masks that were actually carved by Native American Indian Artists.