Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 
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Mask

kegginaquq “mask”
Language: Central Yup'ik

They would explain what the masks were about. This happened when many guests had arrived for the event. When the song ended and they removed the masks, the owner of the mask would come forward and explain the story behind it.

—Mary Mike, 1993, from "The Living Tradition of Yup’ik Masks: Agayuliyararput, Our Way of Making Prayer"

This mask represents Tomanik, the Wind Maker; the white tube is for blowing winter winds, and the black for summer. The goggled eyes that appear on this and many other masks mark a state of spiritual transformation and clarity of vision that are given to the wearer. There is a symbolic connection between masks and snow goggles, which are lined with black soot and also enhance a person’s vision.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Kuskokwim River, Alaska
Village: Napaskiagamut
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 74.2cm
Accession Date: 1919 (collected 1905-1909)
Source: A. H. Twitchell Collection
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 093429.000