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Wooden mask with carved feature, animal teeth in the mouth, and a baleen halo around the mask / Engles Collection

Essay/Description

Wooden mask with carved feature, animal teeth in the mouth, and a baleen halo around the mask.

The masks were often made from wood or furred or de-haired skin and depicted legendary figures and the spirits (Issenman 1997, 208). During dances and ceremonies, shamans would perform with masks representing his or her tutelaries (guardian animal spirits). When the bond between the shaman and the tutelary was strong and close, the spirit would occasionally allow the shaman to show its face, or essence. Thus, some masks have hinges that when opened reveal a face within an animal and other masks lack the hinges and just show the face.

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Title(s): 
Wooden mask with carved feature, animal teeth in the mouth, and a baleen halo around the mask
Creator(s): 
Engles Collection
Culture: 
Arctic, Inuit
Date: 
1800s
Period: 
Historic
Place: 
Alaska
Materials/Techniques: 
Wood, teeth, quill, baleen
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
8437.1422
Department: 
Not On View

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