Raven Transformation Ceremonial Mask
Click the mask to reveal the inside
Artist: Troy Roberts
In the art, Raven is characterised by a strong, straight, tapering beak, sometimes very slightly curved or squared at the tip. If Raven has ears, they are not prominent and his long wings are often folded close to his body. He is often painted black.
The Raven mask used by the Kwakwaka wakw for ceremonies does not have a cedar bark fringe, but the Cannibal Raven mask for the Winter Ceremony or Hamata (Cannibal Dance) does.
Raven is one of the most important beings in Northwest Coast art and mythology, although the nature of his role varies from one culture to another and his predominance diminishes from north to south.
Raven is the original organizer, playing roles of trickster, transformer, teacher, catalyst and chief spirit. He is also a relentless schemer and practical joker, lustful, impulsive, cunning, shameless and without remorse.
Full of magical, supernatural power, Raven could turn himself into anything at any time. He could live beneeath the sea, ascend into the sky or make anything happen by willing it to be so. His legendary antics were often motivated by insatiable greed and he loved to tease, cheat, woo and trick.
All too often, however, the tables would turn on the hapless Raven. Raven is also an important totem figure of prestige and is one of the two main crests of th Haida on the Queen Charlotte Islands.
This supernatural bird has been carved as a tranformation mask. The external aspect of the creature is a darkly painted raven, with nostrils and mouth outlined in bright red paint. The masked dancer would swing his head from one side to the other as the Raven's face was thrown open, then split into four segments to reveal the second mask within.
Carved from red cedar with cedar bark, acrylic paint & varathane - all Canadian products.
Measurements of finished piece, open
Measurements of finished piece, closed
Mask itself - 8 1/2 " x 61 1/2
- This piece is in a private collection and is not for sale -