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Oralian recitation mask

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An Oralian recitation mask was an object used in the rituals of the Oralian Way, a religion of the Hebitian and Cardassian cultures. The recitation masks were generally carved of wood, made to resemble a woman's face (presumably that of Oralius), and worn by a priest or Guide, who thereby took on the role of Oralius and became a conduit from Oralius to the people. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)

As the Oralians faced increasing persecution in the early part of the 24th century, recitation masks came to be cherished and highly protected items. In 2328, as the Cardassian Occupation forces moved to destroy the Oralian Way on Bajor, the priest Bennek tried to hide his recitation mask, along with scrolls of sacred texts, with Vedek Gar Osen at the Naghai Keep. However, Gar had earlier been killed and replaced with an altered Obsidian Order agent, Pasir Letin, who burned the relics in a fireplace. (ST - Terok Nor novel: Day of the Vipers) Also, Elim Garak's adoptive father, Tolan, secretly kept a recitation mask, which he gifted to Elim on his deathbed. (DS9 novel: A Stitch in Time)

An object very similar to an Oralian recitation mask was discovered by Jason Garrett and Pahl in a pre-Hebitian burial site in 2336. This mask, however, created a literal link between the wearer and a non-corporeal being named Uramtali, who had possessed the leaders of the ancient race six thousand years earlier. This discovery led Starfleet Doctor Jo Stern to theorize that the Cardassian religion was based on the worship of powerful telepathic aliens millennia ago. (TLE novel: Well of Souls)


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