Mind, Body, Soul (Shaman Mask) by Luke MarstonMind, Body, Soul (Shaman Mask) by Luke Marston
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Mind, Body, Soul (Shaman Mask)

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This mask represents a legend of a Shaman�s ritual performed on someone who has lost his or her soul. If a person has lost their soul they could be in a state of depression, have suffered a stroke, or have lost their spirit helper. Only a Shaman can tell when someone has lost his or her soul, and he wears an ivory or bone soul catcher around his neck, which is hollow with a plug on the top or at either end. When the Shaman enters into the spirit world and retrieves the soul he places it into the soul catcher amulet, and brings it back to the patient. Cupping the soul in his hands he then restores it into the top of the persons head. The woman at the top of the mask represents the lost soul. Behind her are three circles, and this design is borrowed from a Musqueam house-post, used here to represent the door to the spirit world. Under the chin of the Shaman is an abstract form of the soul catcher necklace with a split-designed frog. Owls are represented on the Shaman�s chin and earrings. Both the owl and the frog are often the spirit helpers of Shamans. I took this carving with me when I went to Japan; I had only roughed it out at the time. When I was there I noticed the similarities to the Buddhas with the long ears and the headpieces, which I found very interesting. The man we stayed with was a Buddhist and a master carver, and I was inspired by the high standard of his carving. His shop was filled with half-finished traditional masterpieces of Buddha and other guardians, as well as his more contemporary sculptures. When I was carving this mask I thought continually of Japan, and the masterfully executed carvings I saw there. I was greatly influenced by the precision of the knife finish and the complex composition of the subjects. It was an honour to have this experience; it was a cultural exchange that changed my life. It opened my eyes to a rich and abundant culture, and I made some great friends that I plan to visit again in two years. -- Luke Marston, 2010

Artwork Information

Location Canada
Region Northwest Coast
Artist Luke Marston
NWC Nation N/A
Date Created 2010
Dimensions 25.5" x 10"
Materials & Edition Yellow Cedar and Abalone

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