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Ishtar Gate, Dragon of Marduk MushhushImage Details
Ishtar Gate, Dragon of Marduk Mushhush (31.25)

Dance of the Forest Spirits: A Set of Native American Masks at the DIA

Through October 6, 2003

  • For Everyone
The Kwakwaka’wakw—Native Americans of the Northwest coast—wear carved wooden masks to represent the spirit world when they perform dances inherited from their ancestors. Dance of the Forest Spirits features a set of masks used in the 1940s during a potlatch, one of the most important ceremonies to the Kwakwaka’wakw. Potlatches commemorate major events in a family’s history, such as births, deaths, and marriages. This exhibition describes the artistic and cultural traditions surrounding the masks, as well as the historical struggles of the Kwakwaka’wakw to keep their traditions alive in an ever-changing world. Interactive videos, listening stations, and computer activities enhance the learning experience for all ages.