Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mask - Inuit

Look closely at this mask and you'll see features of both a seal and a bird. It's thought that perhaps the carver wanted to portray a spirit that would belong to both the ocean and the air. The tribes from Western Alaska created spectacular carved masks. They were intended to represent the spirits of nature. Those spirits control the harsh elements of the world allowing man to survive only with their favor. This mask was used by hunters to honor a seal-like spirit in the hopes of guaranteeing a steady supply of game for food. Quite a bit of the 18 x 20 inches of this mask is made up of feathers. However, it still looks like it would be heavy on the head.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

According to Ann Fienup-Riordan in Agayuliyararput Our Way of Making Prayer p 236 a similar WOLF mask was collected by Turner 1891, sold to Smithsonian was sold to Heye 1908. Heye misidentified the wolf mask as a seal.
Similar wolf masks were collectd by Henry Neuman 1890 ...
Eskimo Masks Art and Ceremony also identifies a similar masks as a Wolf mask collected from St Michael.
Mari, Alaska