The History of the Tiki Mask

Pine Island/USA – May 3, 2017: Wooden Tribal Mask Hanging From Rafters Of Local Tiki Hut Bar And Restaurant | Jason Sponseller

Before you hang a Tiki mask in your home, you might want want to learn more about the history of Tiki masks and the chosen mask for your house in particular. With the correct Tiki mask, you might invoke a blessing or serenity, or yikes, fertility!  

Deciding whether to decorate with a Tiki mask inside or outside, will help decide a choice of what type of mask you might want to obtain. Tiki masks are usually made of wood and are thought to invoke a mood or a symbol. You might want to channel some strength. There is a mask for that. Or, you may need more peace and continuity in your life. There is a mask for that. There is a Tiki mask face for fun, party time, and just about any occasion you desire.

Tiki masks were originally created within the Polynesian and Hawaiian culture. They are all hand carved and as stated above, represent mood or blessings. Tiki masks can also represent deities. Tiki masks are thought by some to bring fertility or good luck to the household with the mask.

If the Tiki mask represents a god, it is said the mask will instill the household with the traits of the god. A god may fill the home and the family with strength, while another god might fill a household with peace and harmony. Whatever god or trait each mask represented in ancient times, it gave the family and community the comfort and protection against harm. Those who use the Tiki masks believe they can do so still today.

The Tiki mask is carved by hand, out of wood and no two masks are exactly alike. Tiki mask carvers take care to make each mask especially slowly and methodically, with special attention to detail. They take deep pride in their work because this is a recognized artesian trade in the Polynesian culture.

When the first Hawaiian Islanders arrived from Polynesia thousands of years ago, they brought the tribal traditions and religious beliefs of their gods. This was represented by Tiki masks and other symbols. These traditions continued in Hawaii. Modern Tiki masks, as we know them in our current decor, most often derive from the Hawaiian interpretations of the traditional Tiki Masks.

The meanings of Tiki faces are usually in some way linked to a particular god, natural element, or spiritual characteristic of the land. They are not solely for religious purposes. Many times throughout history, Tiki mask heads were placed in the home or in the community areas for specific reasons other than worshipping the gods.

The reasons for constructing the Tiki Masks also include the desire for luck, good fortune, or health of a family member. This could also be for a specific event. It could be for bravery or for victory in a contest or for a quest. A Tiki mask was thought to bring good crops to the land, or as stated previously, to bestow fertility upon a couple hoping for many children. Tiki masks promised tribal people many blessings and provided them with hope, comfort, and continuity of their lives.