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Potlatching as a celebration

A fundamental part of potlatching is the desire to get together and celebrate. Dances to be performed would be practiced until flawless, and inordinate effort would go into making the masks (below) for the dances and the bowls to be used for feasting. Sports, gambling, talking, gossiping, lovemaking and, after white contact, drinking, accompanied more formal ceremonies.[Cole 1990 p6]

Above: "Wild man of the woods" emerging from the forest.
Source (above and below): Rohner 1970 p108, photo by E Curtis.
Below: Ceremonial dancers in mythological bird masks.

Masks (centre, then clockwise from top-left): Kwakiutl at Alert Bay (24cm wide by 22cm high by 133cm long), Tlingit, Haida, Haida, Bella Coola (18cm wide by 27cm high), Tlingit, Bella Bella (69cm wide by 28cm high), Kwakiutl at Quatsino Inlet (30cm wide by 37cm high by 53cm long), Tlingit.

Source: Drucker 1965 colour plates 1-4,35-39 following p108, photographs taken by Eugene Price courtesy of the Royal Ontario Museum and Robert H Lowie Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.



URL http://www.anu.edu.au/~u9508666/potlatch/mask.HTM
Copyright © 31 October 1997 Anthony.Bettanin@anu.edu.au