Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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giyema “mask, mask ceremony”
Language: Deg Xinag

This is called a Jumping Mask – we use this a lot… [During the dance] the middle one has to be a woman…with men on both sides.

—Phillip Arrow, 2004

Collector George T. Emmons believed that this mask represented one of the spirit beings called Up River People who were portrayed in the traditional Deg Hit’an Mask Dance (Giyema). Phillip Arrow recognized it as a Jumping Man mask, a type of still used in contemporary dance. Similar to images of the Up River People, Jumping Man masks have long faces with round mouths. During the Jump Dance, two men wearing the masks dance beside an unmasked woman until they shout and jump over the feathered sticks that she holds in each hand.

Culture: Athabascan
Region: Yukon River (lower) Alaska
Village: Anvik
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Height 57cm
Accession Date: 1917
Source: George T. Emmons (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 058667.000