Masks came in three different forms. There was the face mask, the head dress and the shoulder or helmet mask. The face mask would fit over the face of the wearer to hide their
identity. The performer would often
change their voice and wear costumes to complete the disguise. The headdress may or may not cover the wearers face, but was created to
fit like a large hat on the head of wearer. The final type of mask called the shoulder or helmet mask was designed
to rest on the shoulders of the wearer. The
mask could often weight as much as seventy-five pounds.
Masks were worn in a variety of religious ceremonies. The mask held a strong religious and spiritual meaning. The costumed tribes men would often represent ancestors or spirits that
were believed to be contacted in the course of the dance ceremony. The mask could also project moral values. If the mask was rough finished it would represent moral flaws. Masks were not designed to try and imitate real life, but were very
abstract in their design. Masks
were worn in ceremonies that ranged from protection from spirits, to harvest
rituals to rites of passage for individual tribe members.