From the most ancient times when neolithic shamans wore bone and hide masks as depicted in the cave painting known as "The Sorcerer of Trois Freres" to the wild antics of Jim Carey's character in the film "The Mask", masks have been seen as a symbol and focus of power, magic and mystery. When we wear a mask, we shift our shape and become something other than ourselves.
The masks you will encounter in my catalog embody characters and spirits from mythology and literature, imagination and dream, as well as the natural world of plants and animals. All are hand sculpted of fine leather, using techniques based on those of the Rennaissance "Commedia dell'Arte" maskmakers.
The magical power of the mask exists, not in the mask itself, but in the intersection of the mask with our human consciousness, in the synergy that arises when a mask is worn, the connection made between the wearer and the spirit or character of the mask. The famous maskmaker W.T.Benda noted in 1944, the magic inherent in the mask "is not due to any exceptional merit on the part of the artist who made the mask." In this equation, the skill of the artist who has created the mask is simply a conduit, a medium for that magical connection between wearer and mask.
While I like to think my craftsmanship does indeed have some exceptional merit, I am well aware that even the most beautifully crafted mask has fulfilled only part of it's potential until it is worn. I may give these masks form, but it remains for you, the wearer, to give them life.
-- Duncan Eagleson
Too superficial for you? Want to delve deeper? Okay, you asked for it. Here's the full text, no-holds barred series of mask essays:
Eagleson On Masks