Tlingit Masks main content.

Tlingit Masks

Part of Northwest Coast Hall.


Most of the masks displayed here were worn by shamans when they danced in various rites. A shaman is a person who can control and use supernatural powers. Tlingit shamans cured the sick, brought good weather, and caused large runs of fish. The shaman had a special mask for each of his spirits which he used when appealing to that spirit. Other equipmnet used by shamans is shown in the case to the right.

Masks were worn in various ceremonies by dancers other than shamans. There were many occasions for ceremonies, among them births, funerals, memorials in honor of dead relatives, and ear-piercing ceremonies for children.