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Yup’ik Mask

Lower Yukon, Alaska

Carved wood and pigments
Late 19th or early 20th century
Height: 7 ¼ in. (18.5 cm)

Bought in Alaska in the 1930s
Ex collection Madeline Thomas Langworthy
(1893-1980), California

Price: sold

America - Alaska
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The artist Madeline Langworthy put together her collection of Eskimo masks over a short period in the early 1930s by visiting the first galleries of « curiosities » in Alaska (Bear Totem Store, U.S. Mercantile Co.). Throughout her life, Madeline Langworthy shared her passion with other collectors and scholars. Among them was Frederick J. Dockstader, the then Deputy Director of the Heye Foundation, Museum of the American Indian in New York, with whom she corresponded until the late 1950s.
Of great sobriety, the mask presented here combines human features with the snout of a seal, the manifestation of a spirit-guide with whom the dancer/shaman entered into contact by putting himself into a trance.
In terms of style, it can be compared with a shamanic mask representing the spirit of a sea-lion, in the collections of the Rietberg Museum in Zurich (gift of Eduard von der Heydt, inv. RNA 1).