December 21, 2008
In Northwest Coast Native culture, the shaman acts as a healer and soothsayer. Many methods of healing involve the shaman drawing disease and malaise out from the subject and internalizing these ailments. Bones and animal claws are the strongest and longest surviving parts of the body, so they are commonly found in shaman symbolism and shaman regalia. Shamans often wear necklaces and crowns made from claws, talons or bone. I have heard several theories about the appearance of tears within shaman imagery. Tears can represent purification, foresight and/or self-sacrifice. Terry did an amazing job with the tears on this red cedar mask, as they are carved from the single piece of cedar.