TITLE: Cherokee Bear Mask
TYPE: face mask
GENERAL REGION: North America
COUNTRY: United States of America
SUBREGION: North Carolina
DESCRIPTION: Gourd bear dance mask
CATALOG ID: NAUS082
CEREMONY: Bear Dance
AGE: ca. 2000
MAIN MATERIAL: dried gourd half
OTHER MATERIALS: pigment
In the Eastern Cherokee Nation, the Bear Dance originally was danced with bear masks like this one, made of wood or a gourd. The dance is a hunting dance intended to summon the black bears for hunting. Today, the Cherokee have largely abandoned the use of masks in this dance.
For more on Cherokee masked dance, see Frank G. Speck & Leonard Broom, Cherokee Dance and Drama (University of Oklahoma Press 1951).