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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

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Northwest Coast Native American Carved Wood Mask
Dec 02, 10:00 AM EST
Northwest Coast Native American Carved Wood Mask
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$3256 Bids
Early Native American Carved Wood Mask
Dec 03, 10:00 AM EST
Early Native American Carved Wood Mask
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1105 Bids
A NORTHWEST CARVED POLYCHROME MASK
Dec 14, 9:00 AM CST
A NORTHWEST CARVED POLYCHROME MASK
by Jackson's International
Est: $200- $300
$3252 Bids
LOT OF 5 NORTHWEST COAST POLYCHROME MASKS
Dec 10, 12:00 PM EST
LOT OF 5 NORTHWEST COAST POLYCHROME MASKS
by RB Fine Arts
Est: $200- $300
$501 Bid
Native American Carved Wood Mask
Dec 02, 10:00 AM EST
Native American Carved Wood Mask
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$501 Bid
A CONTEMPORARY NORTHWEST COAST POLYCHROME MASK
Dec 10, 12:00 PM EST
A CONTEMPORARY NORTHWEST COAST POLYCHROME MASK
by RB Fine Arts
Est: $300- $500
$500 Bids
Stone Mask Indian Artifact Arrowhead
Dec 04, 1:00 PM CST
Stone Mask Indian Artifact Arrowhead
by Mike Nichols Auctions
Est: $1,000- $20,000
$100 Bids
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Eagle Spirit
Dec 03, 5:00 PM PST
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Eagle Spirit
by Simrit Collection
Est: $1,500- $1,700
$7200 Bids
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Eagle Spirit
Dec 03, 5:00 PM PST
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Eagle Spirit
by Simrit Collection
Est: $1,700- $1,900
$9200 Bids
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Blue Heron Spirit
Dec 03, 5:00 PM PST
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Blue Heron Spirit
by Simrit Collection
Est: $1,700- $1,900
$9200 Bids
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Wind and Tide Spirit
Dec 03, 5:00 PM PST
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Wind and Tide Spirit
by Simrit Collection
Est: $1,500- $1,700
$7200 Bids
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Killer Whale Spirit
Dec 03, 5:00 PM PST
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Killer Whale Spirit
by Simrit Collection
Est: $1,500- $1,700
$9200 Bids
West Coast Native Warrior Mask with Killer Whale Spirit
Dec 03, 5:00 PM PST
West Coast Native Warrior Mask with Killer Whale Spirit
by Simrit Collection
Est: $1,500- $1,700
$7200 Bids
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Wolf Spirit
Dec 03, 5:00 PM PST
West Coast Native Moon Mask with Wolf Spirit
by Simrit Collection
Est: $1,500- $1,700
$7200 Bids
West Coast Native Hand Carved Warrior Mask
Dec 03, 5:00 PM PST
West Coast Native Hand Carved Warrior Mask
by Simrit Collection
Est: $1,350- $1,550
$7200 Bids
Wendake Indian Reservation Bear Spirit Mask, Quebec, Canada
Dec 12, 7:00 PM EST
Wendake Indian Reservation Bear Spirit Mask, Quebec, Canada
by Kensington Estate Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$900 Bids
Hand Carved Wooden Mask Artifact Arrowhead
Dec 04, 1:00 PM CST
Hand Carved Wooden Mask Artifact Arrowhead
by Mike Nichols Auctions
Est: $1,000- $20,000
$100 Bids
Hand Carved Wooden Mask Artifact Arrowhead
Dec 04, 1:00 PM CST
Hand Carved Wooden Mask Artifact Arrowhead
by Mike Nichols Auctions
Est: $1,000- $20,000
$100 Bids
Hand Carved Wooden Mask Artifact Arrowhead
Dec 04, 1:00 PM CST
Hand Carved Wooden Mask Artifact Arrowhead
by Mike Nichols Auctions
Est: $1,000- $20,000
$100 Bids
Laga Mask Artifact Arrowhead
Dec 04, 1:00 PM CST
Laga Mask Artifact Arrowhead
by Mike Nichols Auctions
Est: $1,000- $20,000
$100 Bids
Wooden Mask Artifact Arrowhead
Dec 04, 1:00 PM CST
Wooden Mask Artifact Arrowhead
by Mike Nichols Auctions
Est: $1,000- $20,000
$100 Bids
NORTHWEST COAST CARVED CEDAR MASK
Dec 14, 9:00 AM CST
NORTHWEST COAST CARVED CEDAR MASK
by Jackson's International
Est: $250- $350
$2250 Bids
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THE PASCOLA DANCE MASK
Dec 03, 9:00 AM MST
THE PASCOLA DANCE MASK
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$50 Bids

Sellers Who Sell American Indian Masks & Headdresses


Simrit Collection

Simrit Collection

Mebane Antique Auction

Mebane Antique Auction

Jackson's International

Jackson's International