70 Hopi and Zuni Masks to be Auctioned in Paris

ICTMN Staff
3/7/13

On April 12, a collection of 70 Hopi and Zuni masks will be auctioned by Neret-Minet at the Druout Richelieu gallery and auction house in Paris, France. The array of katsinam masks was amassed by a collector over the course of 30 years, and date to the late 19th and early 20th century, according to the description at Druout.com (a translated version can be found at ArtDaily.org).

"The idea that a people would dedicate so much time and energy to the rise of celestial bodies fascinated our collector," reads the auction's description. "In his collection, the CROW MOTHER mask, Angwusnasomtaqa in the Hopi language, held pride of place, and he had to wait over 20 years to attend the Powamu rituals in early February, the only time the mother of all the Katsinam appears in the village. By his own admission, you have to see the masks in dances to fully appreciate them."

The text goes on to describe ten other masks being auctioned.

Not everyone is thrilled about the auction. In a post at Muddy Roads & Dusty Trails, a blogger describes the Hopi as "horrified."

"Under American law [the masks] should be repatriated to the Hopi Nation," the blogger writes. "The auction house knows this, from their good description of the pieces on can easily deduct that they know about the power of these friends but prefer the power of cash and carry. Katsinam should never be sold on the auction block. The sadness on Hopi is immeasurable. The art stolen under the Nazi regime is also in the process of being returned to their original owners families. Let the same rule be applied."

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mil's picture
mil
Submitted by mil on
How horrifying is this?????? These things are religious and should have never gotten into the hands of anyone!!!! Give them back to the Hopis where they belong.....you have no clue what they mean and what they are used for...how selfish, and disguisting that you could take something so precious to the Hopi Nation and try to sell them....shame on you......these are not to play with nor to sell.

Honaghanii Hastiin's picture
Honaghanii Hastiin
Submitted by Honaghanii Hastiin on
This is a desecration to the Hopis and all Indigenous people of Americas. Since the invasion of Western Civilization; antropologist, archaelogists, museums, dealers from auction houses such as Sotheby, and academias from Ivory Towers have stolen religous masks, potteries from ancient sites, and our language and cultures. That's the reason why the land back home in Arizona and New Mexico are having droughts, young Hopis & Dine are losing respects on Indigenous values, and mainly, our languages is becoming extinct and the enemy tongues - English is prevalent amoung our youths. As a warning: the owners of these religious artifacts will succumb to diseases from their own doings, tragic deaths, and myriads of horrific endings.

Hopi Heart's picture
Hopi Heart
Submitted by Hopi Heart on
Our children will be returned. We have a belief. That all things will just work out. Being mad will not help. Praying for those who took our children to fill a empty hole in their heart, that they find peace. Want is a way to attempt to find what is missing in their own life. Our children know where home is.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
That's fuck up that's not just a mask it's our way of life it is sacred to us and I'm sure that all of them where taken wit out permission. That is disrespectful to the natives from that tribe. I hope all the people connected to these sales get seriously hurt for yor actions, I will not be surprised if some ones life is taken for this offence

Elizabeth Padilla's picture
Elizabeth Padilla
Submitted by Elizabeth Padilla on
Do you really not realize that this isn't a piece of artwork for you to admire in your house? No it's not, this part of the Zuni and Hopi religions. How would you like Jesus' body to be auctioned off in a world wide sale! Please understand that this is not appropriate for you to have and keep in your possession. And it would be considerate even gracious of the seller to return these sacred and holy masks to it's rightful place in THE HOME OF THESE TWO PUEBLO'S. I hope this simple post from an outraged young Zuni woman will relay the message enough for you to cease this auction, effective immediately.

Elizabeth Padilla's picture
Elizabeth Padilla
Submitted by Elizabeth Padilla on
Do you really not realize that this isn't a piece of artwork for you to admire in your house? No it's not, this part of the Zuni and Hopi religions. How would you like Jesus' body to be auctioned off in a world wide sale! Please understand that this is not appropriate for you to have and keep in your possession. And it would be considerate even gracious of the seller to return these sacred and holy masks to it's rightful place in THE HOME OF THESE TWO PUEBLO'S. I hope this simple post from an outraged young Zuni woman will relay the message enough for you to cease this auction, effective immediately.

Mamie L. Jorgensen's picture
Mamie L. Jorgensen
Submitted by Mamie L. Jorgensen on
Those masks belong to the Hopi. Why don't the people ever do the right thing and return the masks where they were taken and where they belong. That would be the the decent thing to do.

confused's picture
confused
Submitted by confused on
Lets be clear here. If you take the time to read into these masks they were not stolen items. He payed for them, and bought them from the dancers. He was also invited on a number of occasions to see the dances. There are no laws to protect against this as the man did nothing wrong. If you want repatriation of items thats fine, but when they were legally sold and traded for there's not much to be said. Maybe the people then were not as materialistic as some people are now.

Soskimana's picture
Soskimana
Submitted by Soskimana on
This truly breaks my heart that our Kachina's will be sold like a piece of antique. Why are people so insensitive to a culture they know nothing about, but believe me they will see the power these Kachina's have and soon. It nothing happens to them they will surly watch a love one take the blame for their acts. I know this sounds mean but this is like selling a human for money that will not bring them any happiness or wealth but for the moment. If they truly love their love ones they will not put them on auction, all Hopi's down to the children know this.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
What do you suppose would happen to me if I were caught trying to sell stolen goods at an auction? What if I were trying to sell a ancient prayer rug from a mosque, a crucifix from a cathedral or maybe a Torah from a synagogue? I think I would probably be arrested or at least questioned as to where I got those objects. And I'm sure there probably isn't a reputable auction house in the world that would proceed with a sale of this nature. And that is exactly what this article is announcing, the sale of stolen sacred religious objects. In all likelihood the sale will probably go on without a hitch or a hiccup. And what is the US government going to do about this and how about the French government? Probably nothing!

Judith A. Castiano's picture
Judith A. Castiano
Submitted by Judith A. Castiano on
The Hopi Nation is absolutely within its rights to ask the auction to return these artifacts to their nation and the Zuni Nation. I am Laguna Pueblo from New Mexico with blood ties to the Hopi via my being Sun Clan. The Pueblo people of New Mexico know that these katsinas SHOULD NOT be sold. They are NOT SUPPOSED to be in anyone's possession except the Hopis. They are of a highly religious significance. The French signed the agreement to return sensitive items back to their rightful owners. As a member of a related nation of the Hopi, I can only feel extremely offended and wonder why so little is thought of our traditional, native religion. It is just as important to us as any other "official" religions in the world. In effect it is sacrilege to have these sacred friends in any hands other than the Hopi Nation. It is a legal, not to mention MORAL obligation for the auction house to return them to the Hopi Nation.

Hopi 's picture
Hopi
Submitted by Hopi on
This Is Very Sad..And By The Way They Look You Can Feel The Sadness And See The Sadness...They Have Absolutely No Right To Auction These Off..These Are Sacred And We Cherish Them !! It Would Be Right If They Would Return To Our Kind

hewayzha's picture
hewayzha
Submitted by hewayzha on
I currently live in Arizona but I am Laguna Pueblo from New Mexico. As a member of the Sun Clan, I have ties with the Hopis. I was raised in my traditional religion as well as a Catholic. As I've grown older, my own traditional religion has come to mean more and I cannot be anything but highly offended by this French auction house selling (?!) sacred masks to anyone who will NEVER understand the religious significance of our friends. The French nation signed an agreement to return items to those have original rights to those artifacts. Only the Hopi and Zuni Nations should have these sacred masks in their possession. Do you really think that any "recognized" religion would stand for one of their sacredly held items were to be auctioned off to a collector who has no appreciation or regard for what that sacred item means to those who are members of that particular religion? I don't think so, therefore, the ONLY place for our friends to be is on Hopi and Zuni. I truly hope the auction will do the RIGHT thing and return our friends to their HOMES.

Make Changes Now's picture
Make Changes Now
Submitted by Make Changes Now on
Did Religious Leaders of the several Pueblos/Villages of AZ & NM ever think to make ceremonial dances closed to Non-Indians??? If they did, this wouldn't be happening... It is my understanding that there are a few Pueblos that have their doors wide open to Non-Indians!!

scotty 's picture
scotty
Submitted by scotty on
to all Natives ..its sad , yes but they will return home .. they know where their home is .. we all pray together and we know what prayers can do.. do not cry or be sad .. their is a plan beyond our control..the spirits will hear us and the cool breeze and soft clouds will carry our message to what is rightfully ours .. be strong

Disheartened Tribal Member's picture
Disheartened Tr...
Submitted by Disheartened Tr... on
No matter how this person got their hands on these sacred beings and having them taken away from their rightful place of origin, the essence of the Zuni and Hopi have been desecrated with the misfortunate selling of these deities. It was an unjust action in part of the person who took them, and he will pay dearly, for we believe that bad things happen to those who are greedy. It disheartens me that there are people in this world who would wholly disrespect those who have been here since time immemorial. -PB

mano12's picture
mano12
Submitted by mano12 on
this is beyond words, basically HORRIBLE! these aren't collectors items they play a HUGE part in our ceremonies that happen through out the year. they are a BIG part of every person's life from childhood. alot of teachings come through these ceremonies for kids which include these sacred items. I'm disgusted and feel sorry for the sick individual who decided to sell these! Not only are you destroying our culture! But nothing good will come out of this. Sickness, Health Problems, Bad Luck comes with anyone who purchases items sacred as these. We are a dying culture and with this you're making us extinct!!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
This is a complete outrage and I'm completely disgusted after reading this article. Is there no respect and humanity left in people?! I checked out the website with my sister and it was very difficult to look at. This issue needs to be adressed. It is our duty and responsiblity as Hopi and Zuni people to take a stand for our religion and most imporantly it is our responsiblity to fight for those spirits who continuously give us what we need to live and survive each day, and each passing year, whom without we would not be where we are today. This makes me so sad and furious! How can you put a price on somone eles' religion?!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
This is a complete outrage and I'm completely disgusted after reading this article. Is there no respect and humanity left in people?! I checked out the website with my sister and it was very difficult to look at. This issue needs to be adressed. It is our duty and responsiblity as Hopi and Zuni people to take a stand for our religion and most imporantly it is our responsiblity to fight for those spirits who continuously give us what we need to live and survive each day, and each passing year, whom without we would not be where we are today. This makes me so sad and furious! How can you put a price on somone eles' religion?!

Hopi Mana's picture
Hopi Mana
Submitted by Hopi Mana on
That's too bad, the other people are not thinking. You know there are repercussions from all this. Let them come home to the reservation where they belong.

Jan Adamson's picture
Jan Adamson
Submitted by Jan Adamson on
If it is not possible to return these Friends to the Hopi People en masse, then please, whoever can purchase any and return them to their Families, please do. They need to go Home to their People and Clans. They are needed there. It is a sacrilege to keep them for personal interest.

From Hopi's picture
From Hopi
Submitted by From Hopi on
So sad, upset, angry to see this happening, there is no respect in the world anymore when it comes to spiritual beings. I'm from Hopi, and those who have come to greed to even COLLECT them (or even if our own peoples who may have SOLD them to these scavangers), will have consequences upon them; guess they want to live a short life. If any people are out there who want to BUY them, out of respect, PLEASE return them to their home or you too will have the same consequences..suffering. They are ALIVE, remember that...no matter how old our "friends" are.

Hopi Mana's picture
Hopi Mana
Submitted by Hopi Mana on
I'm so outraged at this news, saddened that this auction is even taking place! The person who STOLE them is suffering as I write, which is why he/she is trying to get rid of them...(yeah, I heard about the theft going on in the kivas). Even our own people who may have been paid to help the stealing of our "friends" are probably drowning in their own crap right now. I'm asking ANYONE who is even interested in the "friends" to decline from going to the auction. Each of those "friends" are ALIVE, they are Spirits from our Creator and those who steal, buy them out of greed and disrespect will suffer as well; don't take those chances by involving your loved ones, because it will affect your WHOLE family!

carmel keyope's picture
carmel keyope
Submitted by carmel keyope on
I understand there are laws to protect our religious artifacts. People who think that these are just "art" don't realize they are really disrepecting other cultural beliefs and traditions. aai once read an aticle that the same thing happened a long time ago.The person thought it was just a Mask not realizing the impact it would have on the city or within that persons family. All I can tell them they better have ways to protect themselves and their families and country.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
Very sad!!! does not even come close to how I feel. The THIEF and the Auction house knew before hand that this was wrong. Still they carried on, maybe it was their blind greed, they couldn't control. After all these years the non natives continue to take without asking. Y'all should be ashamed of yourselves. You have no clue how to care for these sacred items, it breaks my heart. But, I will pray for you, may the Creator enlighten your hearts, open mind and eyes. So that might do what is right and return these items to their right caretakers.

Not Hopi's picture
Not Hopi
Submitted by Not Hopi on
It's sad this has happened but the fact is many Hopi artists choose to sell images, statues of "friends" perhaps masks too. Without knowing what truely transpired it is hard to say what has occurred in the past....... Could these have been sold? As a fellow native you have to safeguard the religious relics and by all means protect the tribe's cultural...someone obviously dropped the ball here.

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