Sacred Masks

Excellent insights into Native spirituality

Desert Spirit

Hopi Mask Hopi Mask

“The Sale of a sacred object cannot be dismissed with the wave of a hand as a mere commercial transaction”

Philip J. Breeden, US Embassy, Paris; quoted in NY Times 6-30-2014.

The ancient carved cottonwood mask, decorated with eagle feathers and earthen pigment paint stares blankly at an observer from a shelf in a Paris auction house. The display counter is cluttered with Hopi pottery, kachina figures and sacred altar decorations once hidden in the protective darkness of a kiva.

As I studied the photograph in the New York Times article, I imagined other sacred items that could be on another shelf: a silver pyxis containing hosts of the blessed body of Christ; a treasured Torah scroll from Jerusalem; a hand copied Quran from Kufa, Iraq; a revered scroll of the Rig Veda from India; and a Tibetan Buddhist Sutra from a monastery high in the Himalayas.  I…

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About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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2 Responses to Sacred Masks

  1. Good Morning, Cynthia.

    The other day Ji Hyang ( tagged me in a blog Hop. I hope you will join, Here are the questions and his comments

    I am just now, doing a “blog hop”, like a blog tag, about writing.
    Would love to include your blog in the journey. It is another expression of interconnection– something light, for the summer.

    The questions are:
    What am I writing/working on?
    How does my work differ from others of its genre?
    Why do I write what I write?
    How does my writing process work?

    Just link back to one of us.

    Deep Respect for your work,


  2. OK: I will try to hop….


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