Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Objects


ggiinaquq “mask”
Language: Koniag Sugpiaq (Alaska Peninsula dialect)

During the night he saw in a dream masks that the Koniags [Sugpiat] afterwards used as if they were alive, and heard songs sung by some unknown voice. As soon as he awoke he began to sing these songs and went hunting and killed a great many animals.

—oral tradition recorded by Alphonse Pinart, 1871–72

This cedar wood mask may be from Prince William Sound; it portrays a singing spirit face with nose and brows in the shape of a whale’s tail. Separate eye pieces were once attached but now are missing. Whaling – carried out by kayak hunters using poisoned darts – was surrounded by shamanic ritual.

Culture: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Region: Southwest Alaska
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 24cm
Accession Date: 1968
Source: David R. Fair (donor)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E410427