Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 

Frontlet

l’aýkeit “dance regalia”
Language: Lingít

That’s a hawk family, tleix’aa ku.ás Jeenéidi yoo hás duwasáakw K’éix’ch hás áwé hás alshi (“another one in Kake holds this as a crest”), another hawk… You can see the artwork in there, the symmetry…You see the balance in there; absolutely beautiful work.

—Clarence Jackson, 2005

This “forehead mask” or frontlet was part of a ceremonial headdress worn by clan leaders. It was made to sit on top of the wearer’s head, attached to a long train of ermine pelts that flowed down his back. The face appears to be a Hawk crest, although Tlingit advisers suggested other bird identities including owl and eagle. The nostrils and mouth may be intended to show that the bird is transforming into a person. The frontlet is inlaid with imported abalone shell and crowned with feathers and sea lion whiskers. The tops of headdresses were filled with loose eagle down which drifted out while dancing.

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Southeast Alaska
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Height 37cm
Accession Date: 1918
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 074296.000