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Metal; leather; velvet
overall: 3 1/4 x 7 1/4 x 6 in.
Gift of Valley of Jamestown, New York, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, USA, in memory of Dean K. Johnson, Sylvan Lodge #303, F. & A. M.
Leather and metal ritual hoodwink blindfold. Black painted metal goggles with spring loaded flip-up blinds to cover eyes. Leather mask with belt and buckle straps; red velvet lining.
In Freemasonry, and in many other fraternities, candidates are blindfolded, or hoodwinked, prior to beginning their initiation rituals. In some cases, the hoodwink was a simple piece of velvet shaped to fit the face and held on by an elastic band around the back of the head. The candidate simply put the hoodwink on and took it off at appropriate times during the rituals. But, regalia companies also offered more elaborate hoodwinks, like this one, which has spring-loaded blinds that would open and close. "Hoodwinking" an initiate had symbolic value - it represented the movement of the candidate from darkness into the light of fraternal brotherhood. In addition, being deprived of one's sight may have allowed the candidate to better concentrate on the spoken words of the ceremony.