Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

 

Mask

kegginaquq “mask”
Language: Central Yup'ik

Angalkut evaruciaritneng atuqatarluteng. (They are going to dance to the song that a shaman composed.)

—Neva Rivers, 2003

This mask is a black bear, from which the animal’s yua, or inner person, peers out. Tufts of human hair (some now missing) hang over the eye. The bear’s red tongue is attached by a flexible willow splint so that it would have bobbed up and down during the dance, perhaps representing the animal’s fatigue as hunters pursued it. A unique song-story and dance were composed for each mask.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Lower Yukon River, Alaska
Village: Sabotnisky
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Width 52cm
Accession Date: 1882
Source: Edward W. Nelson (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E048985