The moon masks always appear as a pair, each differentiated by the phase of the moon on top of the mask.

The features of a moon mask are often carved in such a way that the face appears flatter than is typical of other masks, reduced in prominence to suggest a face in the moon. The moon is responsible for controlling the tides. This moon mask shows the halo constructed from wood and is painted red.

Dance and Regalia:

When the moon masks are shown during a potlatch, they enter the Big House separately. Once they discover each other they try to get the other to leave, as each believes they are the better phase of the moon.

They decide to settle the often-heated argument by dancing and the audience decides which one is the better moon. The winner continues to dance while the loser sulks away, gesturing angrily as he goes. Although the dance is quite humorous it is a high-ranking privilege.

Mask's Story:

The mask was surrendered in 1922 by Sam Charlie of the Mamalilikala. It was sent to the Canadian Museum of Civilization and was returned to the Kwagiulth Museum and Cultural Centre in 1979. In 1995 it was transferred to U'mista Cultural Centre.

produced by Jade Ontheocean

Responses to "Native American Moon Mask Dance (Video)"

  1. Unknown says:

    nice !

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