Carved wooden 'spirit mask', Alaska, 1801-1900

Made:
1801-1900 in Alaska

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Carved wooden 'Spirit mask'. Front view. Split background, white perspex foreground to black background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Carved wooden 'Spirit mask'. Front three quarter view. Split background, white perspex foreground to black background.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Carved wood "spirit mask" with distorted face worn by the Shaman, Eskimo, Alaska

A shaman is a religious figure and healer who in times of crisis sometimes calls upon the aid of supernatural forces. This ‘spirit mask’, depicting the distorted face of a helping spirit, was worn by an Inuit shaman or angakok in Alaska, North America. These masks were used in ritual dances to ensure good hunting and good health. The shaman’s role is to communicate with the spirits and ask their help for the sake of the community.

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Details

Category:
Ethnography and Folk Medicine
Object Number:
A645097
Materials:
copper, hair, wood
type:
mask
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • costume

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