Yup’ik Mask

Archives | Alaska

Yup’ik Mask

Alaska

Tunghak shaman mask

Carved wood and pigments
Early oath century
Height: 31 cm

Ex collection Paul Schaffer, San Francisco, acquired in 1984
Ex private collection, Seattle

Published: New Beginnings - Parcours des Mondes 2017
Sold
The type of mask presented here is a representation of Tunghak (« The Spirit from Elsewhere » / « The One Who Lives on the Moon » in the Yup'ik language). Tunghak is the being reigning over mammals and fish. Hunting and fishing expeditions can only be successful if the spirit agrees to make prey available to men. For this reason, it is important for the Yu'pik to win over the Tunghak spirit during shamanic ceremonies so that the latter will be favorable to their requests.
This mask is a representation of the fascinating shamanic voyage where the world of humans joins the invisible world of spirits. The concentric circles surrounding the mask illustrate the parallel worlds that the shaman is able to visit while in a trance.
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