French Hopi mask auction may be cancelled



2015-06-26 13:13:23

French Hopi mask auction may be cancelled

Hopi cultural officials are calling for a French auction of tribal masks to be halted

Hopi cultural officials, in conjunction with The Heard Museum and the Museum of Northern Arizona, are calling for a French auction of tribal masks to be cancelled.

French Hopi mask auction The masks come in hundreds of variations, representing human characters, wildlife, weather and more

The auction is due to go ahead on April 12 in Paris, though the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office has appealed to the French government to prevent the masks from being sold. Known as kachina friends, the masks are used as representations of spirit characters in traditional Hopi theology.

The Hopi are mainly based in north east Arizona.

In a letter written to the auction house, the director of the Museum of Northern Arizona wrote: "This sale of items of significant religious and cultural importance to the Hopi Tribe is of extreme concern to our American Indian employees, particularly our Hopi employees."

"For them, katsina friends are living beings. To be displayed disembodied in your catalogue, and on the internet, is sacrilegious and offensive.

The auction could raise more than $775,000.

On April 5, Cowan's will hold its own American Indian art auction, featuring a Navajo first-phase blanket at $400,000-500,000.

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