Haschebaad – Female Deity, or Goddess

In Navajo mythology there are numerous references to benevolent female deities, who are personated in medicine rites by men wearing masks, as shown here. Haschebaad may be translated “female deity,” or “goddess.” The Mask is Used in Yebichai Night Chant Ceremony

Haschebaad -  female deity, or goddess

Source: The Night Chant, A Navajo Ceremony by Washington Matthews – Date = 1902

 

The mask differs much from the male mask. While the latter, like a bag inverted, covers the entire head and neck, and completely conceals the hair of the wearer, the former conceals only the face and throat and allows the hair to flow out freely over the shoulders.

The Yebichai actor never wears the hair bound up in a queue. While the male mask is soft and pliable, the female mask is stiff and hard, being made of untanned skin.

It is nearly square in shape; the top is always slightly rounded and ‘in some cases the base is a little broader than the top.

There is a flap or wing, called the -ear, on each side about two inches broad, as long as the margin of the mask proper, and indented or created on the outer margin. The margins are all alike in each. set of. masks but not in any two sets.

The hole for the mouth is square’ The holes for the eyes are triangular,-the apices pointing outwards. The mask is painted blue, the ears white, a square field around the mouth-hole and a triangular field around each eye-hole are black.

The kethawns and the dry-paintings represent the female mask as having a yellow horizontal stripe-.at the bottom, like the male masks ; but this has not been observed on any mask ; ‘instead there is sometime’s a horizontal line of bead-work, about two inches broad, not uniform in design on all masks.

From the bottom of the mask proper, i. e., the piece of raw-hide, a curtain of red flannel or red baize, or other material, usually hangs.

Sometimes this curtain ‘is covered with beads, or adorned with fragments of shell. No definite rules seem to prevail with regard to this curtain. There is always a piece of abalone (haliotis) shell secured with thongs in the center at the top, behind which feathers of turkey and eagle, or of red-shaved woodpecker, are stuck.

The mask is tied to the head by means of long buckskin strings. Sometimes there is a fringe of short hair at the upper margin.

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