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Gaan Headdress

Western Apache

ca. 1880

wood, hide, glass, shell, tin, canvas, paint

height: 37"
width: 19 ½"

Inventory # CS2025



Larry Frank, Arroyo Honda, NM
Francesco Pellizzi, New York, NY


Art Institute of Chicago, July 16-October 30, 1977
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, April 17 - July 30, 1984


The Native American Heritage, Mauer, Art Institute of Chicago, 1977, pg. 242, pl. 354
La Rime et la Raison, Editions del la Reunion des Musees Nationaux, 1984, pgs. 181 and 337          
Donald Ellis Gallery catalogue, 2001, pg. 5

Gaan masks were used by various Apache groups to impersonate supernatural spirits. The gaan spirits are benevolent in nature, and appear at both puberty and curing ceremonies. This spectacular mask consists of a hide hood affixed to an elaborate crown of split yucca stalks, painted a vibrant blue/green. An icon of Native American art, this mask is also widely considered to be a masterpiece of Indigenous art.