According to the mythical tales of the Amerindians of Amazonia, living creatures originally formed a cultural group where humans and non-humans were not clearly distinguishable.
Then these living creatures separated morphologically and formed distinct groups of different species. But they were all still regarded as people. They each had a soul, formed social relationships and could only be told apart by their appearance. In Amerindian thought all living beings are connected, they form a very intricate network where no single element is important in itelf. In Amazonia, the Indians of one group and those of another are perceived as belonging to different species. Tangible representations like ornaments, masks and body painting become extensions of the body, constituting a kind of species-specific costume that group’s members wear over their human forms.


  • Title: ype mask
  • Date Created: 20e siècle
  • Location: Brazil (Mato Grosso)
  • Physical Dimensions: H: 115 cm; L: 125 cm; D: 20 cm
  • Subject Keywords: mask, set of jewels, ritual, permanent exhibition
  • Rights: Musée des Confluences (Lyon, France) © Patrick Ageneau
  • External Link: Learn more at the museum website
  • Medium: feather, wood, vegetable fibre, cotton, wax, mother-of-pearl, bone

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