During pre Hispanic times, masks had 'multiple functions’ (Pasztory): from representing an animal or natural force and thus acting as an ‘instrument of magical transformation’ (Cordry) facilitating for example a shaman’s journey to the spirit world (and, note, protecting the shaman’s identity at the same time, by ‘temporarily eliminating the personality of the wearer’), to symbolizing the unity of life and death - which was seen very much as transformation rather than an end in itself. Each Mayan mask is hand carved with cedar wood and colored stained. Each design is unique making the mask one of a kind.
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