North America

Shaman’s mask
Inupiaq (Eskimo)

Point Hope, Alaska

Bering Strait region

Carved wood, pigments
Early 20th century
Height : 7 ¼ in. (18.5 cm)

Ex collection Luciano Lanfranchi, Milano, Italia
Ex collection Alex Arthur, Brussels, Belgium
Ex private collection, France

Price: on request

America - Alaska
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This shamanic mask from the Point Hope area, north of the Bering Strait is a striking example of Inupiaq (Eskimo) ritual art.
A magnetic presence emanates from this Point Hope mask. Similar transformation masks are illustrated in "Masks of the Point Hope Eskimo" by James W. Van Stone.

The Subarctic region inhabited by the Iniupiaq (Eskimo) peoples in Alaska is well supplied with land and sea resources allowing for much time that could be devoted to a full ceremonial life. After freezeup in the winter, performance cycles were undertaken that were important to maintaining proper human, animal and spirit-world interactions. These ritual and shamanic ceremonies took place in the Men’s House (qasaiq). During masked ceremonies, shamans, under the protection of their animal-guides entered into a trance to communicate with the spirit world. Before leaving on a hunt, men also had to observe a certain number of dictates to assure themselves of the beneficial support of tutelary spirits, the « masters » of game animals.