Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

Related Media
Related Objects

Fire-bath hat

maqissuun “fire-bath hat”
Language: Central Yup'ik

Angukaraurluut taugaam maqissuuteklallruat. Qasgimi pitulit aka. (Only the old men wore them for fire baths. Only the ones that stayed in the men’s house long ago.)

—John Phillip, Sr., 2002

In the past, men and boys gathered in the men’s community house for cleansing sweat baths. Naked except for protective mouth masks filled with wood shavings and wearing bird-skin hats to shield their heads, they basked in the fierce dry heat. The hats were whole skins of loons, crows, and other birds, split at the belly. This one is made from a loon.

Culture: Yup’ik
Region: lower Yukon River, Alaska
Object Category: Homes
Dimensions: Length 31cm
Accession Date: 1879
Source: E. W. Nelson (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E038313