Chinese Freemasons Ceremony Masks
- circa 1930-1950
Chinese Freemasons is the oldest Chinese organization and one of the most influential in Canada. These two large masks were used in cultural activities and parades, and according to Chinese Freemasons leaders, were also used in the organization’s ceremonies. Such activities were an important part of early Chinese community life in British Columbia.
The masks are 83 cm high, 58.5 cm wide and 22 cm deep. They are face-shaped, with stylized designs in patterns that symbolize different temperaments of characters – similar to those found in Chinese Opera facial makeups. Behind each mask are four handhold loops and a wire.
This pair was originally preserved by Jack Tang, formerly Secretary of the Chinese Freemasons in Victoria. As part of the Tang family estate, it was purchased by Thomas Stark, and the Royal BC Museum collected it to preserve an important part of Chinese Canadian legacy in British Columbia.