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Monday, 8 July 2013

a mask that sticks out its tongue....

Transformation mask which would have been worn by a dancer in a ritual or a celebration.
 Made by a citizen of one of the west coast First Nations. UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, BC.

I don't know why it is we always think that the artifacts left to us by earlier peoples are venerable, revealing a depth and wisdom no longer evident in the human species.

This is a transformation mask. When closed it would have looked like a bird's beak or a bear's snout, perhaps. Open, it reveals a face sticking out its tongue, eyes slightly crossed, hands up! Maybe those big brown ears even waggled.

It's the mask of a jester; the mask of a clown. It's a mask that makes a fool of those who take the dance too seriously.

Perhaps wisdom lies in the foolishness; god in the laughter.

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