College of LAS « Illinois

Secrets of Spurlock

mask

This object holds great power for Northwest Coast native cultures, and is used as part of elaborate ceremonies to share cultural beliefs and traditions.

What is it?

Answer: A transformational mask (raven shown).

Sandy Furman and his wife, Mimi, donated two Northwest Coast masks to the Spurlock Museum. These masks have been made in recent decades as part of the revival of Northwest Coast art that began in the 1960s. These contemporary masks, with their traditional colors, designs, and subjects, testify to the connection between past and present in indigenous Northwest Coast culture.

Image: Transformational mask (2008.24.0001), courtesy of the Spurlock Museum.