Kwakiutl Tribal Mask of the Pacific Northwest Essay

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The Kwakiutl Indian tribe existed before the discovery of North America by the European culture and inhabited the coast of the Pacific Northwest of the United States and British Columbia in Canada. The tribe is rich in tradition and culture and has remained steadfast in their beliefs, history, teachings and artisan skills which have been passed down generation to generation. The artisans in the Kwakiutl tribe mastered the art of creating special ceremonial masks that are not only beautiful and aesthetically interesting to the eye, but also mechanically intriguing in which the masks serve a specific purpose to a theme during different ceremonies that are conducted by tribal specialists during certain times throughout the year. Kwakiutl …show more content…

Masks gave life to various mythological, primitive, bird and animal figures which the tribal members claimed as their ancestors from long ago and were to believe to invoke supernatural powers. These mythical beings gave way for privileges and special powers to individual tribal families and helped to form a family's crest, song or dance. The family would then personify distinct mythological figures as part of their heritage. The animals and mythological creatures represented in the masks and a host of other carvings derive from the Northwest Coast's rich oral tradition and celebrate the mythological origins and inherited privileges of high-ranking families (Gardners, 864). The majority of the masks displayed intricate and mastered use of line in their smooth concave and convex curves, with crisp sharp lines used to bring focus on a specific feature of the mask. The features usually being brought to the forefront were delineated nostrils, eyes and lips that were accentuated by deep cut carving and the use of contrasting color which helped to add form and realism to the mask. Geometric and organic lines were used to contrast between the parallel lines which would help create to enhance the features of the mask. The paint colors typically used by the

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