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Mask

kegginaquq “mask”
Language: Central Yup'ik

The angalkuq (shaman) would see somebody’s movement for a particular word and he would say “Yes, finally, that’s the one I want to use for—to depict this word.” And that’s how they did—they used these [movements] with the masks and the dance fans.

—Joan Hamilton, 2002

This transformation mask depicts a human figure with outspread arms and legs. The limbs are also mouths, painted red inside and studded with peg teeth. A semi-human face is carved on the outside of the doors, which opened dramatically when a dancer pulled on the sinew cords. The face revealed inside is the yua, or inner person, of the creature. It has goggled eyes and a mustache. Two seals are painted inside one door, two caribou on the other. The mask originally had feathers inserted around the body and a fringe of caribou hair on the head.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Kuskokwim River, Alaska
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 43cm
Accession Date: 1882
Source: Edward W. Nelson (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E064260