Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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kegginaquq “mask”
Language: Central Yup'ik

The shaman directed them on how to make the mask, and he composed the songs and when they learned the songs, then they got together and practiced the movements. When angalquum-qaa assikaqamiu waten piniartuq nutaan tauna. (When the shaman liked it he would say, “Now that is it.”)

—Joan Hamilton, 2002

This mask portrays the story of a sandhill crane that carries a sick angalkuq (shaman) back to his home. The angalkuq is the small grass figure attached to the bird’s breast. The face of a woman in earrings emerges from the bird’s torso, representing its yua, or inner person. Each ceremonial mask and accompanying story, dance, and song was the product of a shamanic vision or experience.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Kuskokwim River, Alaska
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length: 102cm
Accession Date: 1919 (collected 1905-1909)
Source: A. H. Twitchell Collection
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 093417.000