Loading Spinner

American Indian Masks & Headdresses

One of the most prominent expressions of American Indian cultural identity and artistry is the tradition of making masks and headdresses. Conjured by tribes for generations, these pieces reflect both the history of its people and the incredibly imaginative approaches of artists.

Though designed differently and popularized in different tribes, both masks and headdresses reflect an element of storytelling. The headdress, which first emerged within the Sioux Indian tribes of the Northern Plains, told the story of the leaders of the tribe. The design and components reflected great achievements and was recognized as a symbol of status and power by all around, whether worn during ceremonial gatherings or dances.

The mask, which originated in the tribes of the Pacific Northwest, also told a story, however it was typically more fantastical in nature. Instead of symbolizing real events, these masks were intended to represent heroic ancestors and spirits and were worn during dances and musical performances.


Quick Facts

  • Feathered headdresses were designed to specifically denote the wearer’s successes. Typically, a new feather was added upon a triumph of victory, so a greater number of feathers reflected a larger number of accomplishments
  • Different feathers were also intended to allude to different qualities. Raven feathers, for instance, connoted wisdom or sageness, while eagle feathers implied great courage
  • Many of the performances that incorporated the rich variety of Pacific Northwest masks were scheduled in the wintertime in part as a means of distracting the tribal population from the doldrums of season

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

Native American Indian chief's headdress
Oct 27, 9:00 AM EDT
Native American Indian chief's headdress
by Pook & Pook, Inc.
Est: $120- $160
$1709 Bids
Don Lelooska Northwest Coast Indian mask
Oct 27, 9:00 AM EDT
Don Lelooska Northwest Coast Indian mask
by Pook & Pook, Inc.
Est: $400- $600
$2002 Bids
Rick Kuzuguk Inuit Whalebone Mask
Nov 03, 10:00 AM CDT
Rick Kuzuguk Inuit Whalebone Mask
by Revere Auctions
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
Native American Indian animal fur headdress
Oct 27, 9:00 AM EDT
Native American Indian animal fur headdress
by Pook & Pook, Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
Iroquois Indian corn husk mask, ca. 1980
Oct 27, 9:00 AM EDT
Iroquois Indian corn husk mask, ca. 1980
by Pook & Pook, Inc.
Est: $160- $220
$801 Bid
Tarahumara Indian devil mask, 20th c.
Oct 27, 9:00 AM EDT
Tarahumara Indian devil mask, 20th c.
by Pook & Pook, Inc.
Est: $40- $60
$201 Bid
Kwakwaka'wakw Eagle Mask Pacific Northwest
Nov 03, 10:00 AM CDT
Kwakwaka'wakw Eagle Mask Pacific Northwest
by Revere Auctions
Est: $400- $800
$2000 Bids
Hopi People mask . Circa 1960
Oct 28, 5:00 PM CEST
Hopi People mask . Circa 1960
by Duran Arte Y Subastas
Est: €0- €0
€6000 Bids
Hopi People mask. Circa 1960
Oct 28, 5:00 PM CEST
Hopi People mask. Circa 1960
by Duran Arte Y Subastas
Est: €0- €0
€5000 Bids
2 Rare Indian Nyishi Warrior Hornbill Hats, 19th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
2 Rare Indian Nyishi Warrior Hornbill Hats, 19th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $600
$1500 Bids
Sherdukpen Dance Mask, Arunachal Pradesh, Early 20th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Sherdukpen Dance Mask, Arunachal Pradesh, Early 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $500- $1,000
$2500 Bids
Galla Peoples Wedding Headdress Ankerba Ethiopia, 20th C.
Nov 15, 10:00 AM EST
Galla Peoples Wedding Headdress Ankerba Ethiopia, 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $400- $800
$2000 Bids
19th C. Andean Alpaca Head Covering
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
19th C. Andean Alpaca Head Covering
by Material Culture
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Brazilian Kayapo Indian Ceremonial Headdress, Xingu River Area
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Brazilian Kayapo Indian Ceremonial Headdress, Xingu River Area
by Material Culture
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5000 Bids
Cameroon Natural Fiber Hat, Early/Mid 20th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Cameroon Natural Fiber Hat, Early/Mid 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Amazon Headdress, Mid 20th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Amazon Headdress, Mid 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $400- $600
$2000 Bids
Mexican Leather Tigre Helmet Mask, Mid 20th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Mexican Leather Tigre Helmet Mask, Mid 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Sherdukpen Dance Mask, Arunachal Pradesh, Late 19th/Early 20th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Sherdukpen Dance Mask, Arunachal Pradesh, Late 19th/Early 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $500- $1,000
$2500 Bids
Two Incised Earthen Clay Items, Possible Ritual Headdress
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Two Incised Earthen Clay Items, Possible Ritual Headdress
by Material Culture
Est: $200- $400
$1000 Bids
bp parity badge
Anaktuvuk Pass Masks [140176]
Oct 30, 8:00 AM PDT
Anaktuvuk Pass Masks [140176]
by Holabird Western Americana
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Rare Solomon Islands Upi Headdress, Early 20th C.
Nov 14, 10:00 AM EST
Rare Solomon Islands Upi Headdress, Early 20th C.
by Material Culture
Est: $500- $1,000
$2500 Bids
Sioux Indian headdress
Oct 27, 9:00 AM EDT
Sioux Indian headdress
by Pook & Pook, Inc.
Est: $160- $240
$800 Bids
Northwest Coast Indian carved cedar mask
Oct 27, 9:00 AM EDT
Northwest Coast Indian carved cedar mask
by Pook & Pook, Inc.
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell American Indian Masks & Headdresses


Material Culture

Material Culture

Pook & Pook, Inc.

Pook & Pook, Inc.

Duran Arte Y Subastas

Duran Arte Y Subastas

Simrit Collection

Simrit Collection