TITLE: Seneca Hagondes Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: North American
COUNTRY: United States of America
SUBREGION: New York State
ETHNICITY: Iroquois (Seneca)
DESCRIPTION: Hagondes mask
CATALOG ID: NAUS078
CEREMONY: social control; entertainment
AGE: mid to late twentieth century
MAIN MATERIAL: cotton cloth
OTHER MATERIALS: dyed felt; yarn; thread; shoe strings
The Seneca people belong to the Iroquois League (Haudenosaunee) and inhabited the New York state area before being displaced by Dutch and British settlers. They maintain tribal lands in the New York area today, reserved by treaty. Among the spirits familiar to the Seneca is the Hagondes, or “long nose” spirit. The Hagondes is a trickster, clown, and cannibal who frightens misbehaving children. As such, they have no ritual use, but are instead used as need arises.
In the past, Hagondes masks were made of buckskin, but changes in the Seneca traditional ways of life, including the reduced prominence of deer hunting to tribal life, led the Seneca to adopt new materials in some cases.
For more on Iroquois masking traditions, see William N. Fenton, The False Faces of the Iroquois (University of Oklahoma Press, 1987).