Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Haschogan (House God) – The Yebichai Hunchback. Photograph shows a Navajo man, half-length, seated, facing front, wearing a ceremonial mask with feathers and with fir or spruce branches forming a wreath around the shoulders.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Edward Curtis’ epic portraits of Native Americans are a joy. And so too are his pictures of North America’s indigenous peoples dressed in ceremonial masks.

h/t: flashbak

Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Curtis began his quest to record what he feared was a vanishing world in 1901.

“The passing of every old man or woman means the passing of some tradition, some knowledge of sacred rites possessed by no other… consequently the information that is to be gathered, for the benefit of future generations, respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost for all time,” he said.

Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

We’d argue that stories last; passed on orally, they take lives of their own, growing and changing in harmony with the people who tell them and listen. The visual portrait is not the be all and end all of a culture. The North Americans Indians were not stuck in an ancient style that would never change. Their culture has roots, branches, dead wood and new shoots. It needed then, as it does now, to breathe in the light or else it dies.

The pictures are wonderful – but as snapshots in time they are only a small and valuable part from the story of a great race.

Tsunukwalahl–Qagyuhl. Person wearing Mask of Tsunukwalahl, a mythical being, used during the Winter Dance.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Hamasilahl–Qagyuhl. Ceremonial dancer.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Nuhlimkilaka–Koskimo. Kwakiutl person wearing an oversize mask and hands representing a forest spirit, Nuhlimkilaka, (“bringer of confusion”).
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Paqusilahl–Qagyuhl. Dancer representing Paqusilahl (“man of the ground embodiment”), wearing a mask and shirt covered with hemlock boughs, representing paqus, a wild man of the woods.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Gaaskidi [i.e. Ganaskidi]–Navaho. Photo shows a Navajo man wearing mask of Ganaskidi, god of harvests, plenty, and of mists
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Nuhlimahla–Qagyuhl. Person wearing ceremonial mask of the Nuhlimahla during the during the Winter Dance ceremony. These characters impersonated fools and were noted for their devotion to filth and disorder.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Kwahwumhl–Koskimo. Dancer wearing raven mask with coat of cormorant skins during the numhlin ceremony.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Zahadolzha–Navaho. Indian, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front, wearing leather mask with basket cap, fur ruff, nude torso painted with white lines.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Masked dancer–Cowichan. Dancer wearing oversize mask, three rings of feathers in front of clothing, holding a rattle.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Nayenezgani–Navaho. Indian, half-length portrait, facing front, wearing dark mask, fur ruff, paint on torso.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Hami–Koskimo. Koskimo person wearing full-body fur garment, oversized gloves and mask of Hami (“dangerous thing”) during the numhlim ceremony.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Group of Winter Dancers–Qagyuhl. Ceremonial dancers, in a circle during the Winter Dance ceremony, wearing masks and garments of fur, feathers, and other materials.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Sisiutl–Qagyuhl. Sisiutl, one of the main dancers in the Winter Dance ceremonies, wearing a double-headed serpent mask and shirt made of hemlock boughs.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

A Tluwulahu costume–Qagyuhl. Woman wearing a fringed Chilkat blanket, a hamatsa neckring and mask representing deceased relative who had been a shaman.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Masked dancers–Qagyuhl. During the winter ceremony, Kwakiutl dancers wearing masks and costumes, crouch in foreground with others behind them. The chief on the far left holds a speaker’s staff. Three totem poles in background.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Tonenili–Navaho. Navajo man bedecked in hemlock boughs and mask of a clown associated with the mischievous rain god Tonenili, “Water Sprinkler”.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Nayenezgani–Navaho. Indian, full-length portrait, standing, facing front, wearing dark leather mask, fur ruff, cloth girdle, silver concho belt and necklaces.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Atlumhl– Koskimo. North American Indian man, in costume with ceremonial mask, on hands and knees.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

Mask of the octopus hunter–Qagyuhl. Ceremonial mask worn by a dancer portraying the hunter in Bella Bella mythology who killed the giant man-eating octopus. The dance was performed during Tluwulahu, a four day ceremony prior to the Winter Dance.
Fantastic Photographs Of Native Americans In Ceremonial Masks, 1905-1915

(Visited 1 times, 3 visits today)

Leave Your Comment Below

More Inspiring Stories