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kegginaquq “mask”
Language: Central Yup'ik

These are the workings of the angalkuq [shaman], and they’re to be respected and revered and treated very carefully.

—Joan Hamilton, 2002

Yup’ik shamans directed the making of masks and composed the dances and music for winter ceremonies. This mask represented a tuunraq, or shaman’s helping spirit. It has a semi-human face, wooden peg teeth, a blood-splattered mouth, and red-painted attachments, including two human legs. This mask may specifically be an ircenrraq, described in traditional stories as a powerful being that could appear as a wolf, a fox, or a killer whale. These beings had long pointed heads, distorted mouths, and half human–half animal faces, all seen in this mask. The white spots may be snowflakes, stars, or eyes.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: Yukon River (mouth), Alaska
Village: Pastolik
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Height 49cm
Accession Date: 1878
Source: E. W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E033105