The Navajo mask is a representation of the people’s affinity for spiritualism and nature, which is one of the tribe’s most important icons. Through these masks they are able to portray their feelings and emotions towards certain things. This is when they put their creativity to work. These Navajo masks could be made out of many different types of materials, though the most widely used material is wood, it could also be made of cloth, leather shells a feather and much more.
Use of Masks
The Navajo masks were worn in many ceremonies and religious ventures. The ceremonies that theses masks are worn too are generally rituals in which involves singing and dancing. The masks are used to help tell the stories that are being told through the songs and dances being performed. They represent a transformation of an individual into a representation of the spirit World that allows him to identify with the forces of nature that tries to control him.
While many masks that are seen in exhibits and museums may be considered traditional it should be personally understood that tradition and culture are two different venues. The masks that are a part of the Navajo tradition is used as an imitation of their well being and persona s a whole. The different masks are tailored to the person that made it. Also for the masks worn in ceremonies the picture depicted on the masks are replicas of the character or event they are describing through song and dance.
Creation of the Mask
Navajo masks had many different purposes including its spiritual uses, not just for their entertaining purposes. Many Native American Tribes believed that once wearing a certain animal mask during specific tribal rituals that the person that had worn the mask would take on certain characteristics of that animal.
There are some masks that were tailored to decorative purposes while there were many other masks that withheld a much deeper meaning. Some masks were crafted as portrait masks, and they were intended to portray an important figure in Native American culture. Some of these portrait masks were created with a labret, which is a piercing in the lower lip.
The Navajo masks were not worn frivolously, but were worn on special occasions to portray important people and things to the Navajo people. These Navajo masks were not only just for decorative purposes but like many other thing to the Navajo people they are here to show something greater.