Masks : Corn Husk Mask

Corn Husk Mask

Senecan Husk Face Mask

This corn husk mask was made and used by the Husk Face medicine society of the Seneca, a Iroquoian Native American tribe. Husk Faces were “water doctors” who cured diseases by sprinkling water on those with ailments. They also performed spiritual dances at the Midwinter Ceremony, a Iroquoian festival celebrating the spiritual new year. In the Husk Face society, these masks have supernatural powers--whether worn or not. When worn, the mask infuses the shaman with the supernatural powers of the spirit depicted. When not being worn, the mask is treated with care as it still holds supernatural powers and can warn family members of important impending events. This type of mask, with braided and coiled corn husks and a bushy outer edge, is one of the earlier known types of Iroquoian masks.