Wakw Sun Mask Analysis

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The mask Sun Mask was made by an unknown artist from the Kawakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl) tribe from Canada and is on display in Gallery G260 in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. It was created around the year 1860 CE and is made with wood, pigment, metal, cloth and cord. The mask’s dimensions are 43.82 x 40.01 x 12.38 cm (MIA placard). Sun Mask is, first and foremost, in the shape of a humanoid face; a oval-rectangle type of shape. There are two eyes, a nose, and a mouth resting where they normally might sit (in general) to give the viewer the notion that this is supposed to be a face. There are seven triangles, that seem to be made out of metal, that surround the body of the mask - as if it is the sun’s rays themselves. This is very likely as this mask is called a ‘sun mask’. The decorations of the face itself are big solid blocks of color painted around the facial features. It is similar art style like those on totem poles. The colors are painted on in a way that looks very symmetrical as well. There are two lines of color, one black and one red, that touch each other in the forehead area, it curves up and joins in…show more content…
This tribe in particular, the Kwakwaka’wakw, are known for the “bold, expressive features of the masks”. Masks, such as the sun masks, were used by important, noble families of this tribe during potlatches: ceremonies where dancers told the story of the tribe’s lineage and social hierarchies. The sun masks in particular were used to show what the sun’s roles was - the creator and bearer of life. The sun mask might also be used as a family crest to some of the people in the Kwakwaka’wakw tribe, and would often put these masks on the front of their houses or on the top of their tallest totem pole, where one is today (Kwakwaka’wakw Sun and Moon Masks,

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