Skip to Content
e4401-first-nation-yupik-dance-mask-yukon-river-alaska--web.jpg
Views
Finely carved wooden Yup’ik dance mask with residues of white and red paint | Donald Ellis Gallery

Dance Mask

Yup'ik
Likely Lower Yukon River, Alaska

ca. 1880

wood, paint

height: 7 ¾"

Inventory # E4401

Please contact the gallery for more information.


PROVENANCE

Purchased by Jeffrey Holbrook in 1962 or 1963 in Seattle, Washington

RELATED EXAMPLES

Staatliches Museum fur Volkerkunde, Dresden, Germany, Cat. No. 38167 – See: Ray, Dorothy Jean. Eskimo Masks: Art and Ceremony. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1967, pl. 45, for a mask exchanged from the American Museum of Natural History in 1921, bearing the description: “wooden dance mask carved to represent a man’s face, and worn in general dances for the entertainment of the people, Eskimo of the Yukon Delta, Alaska”.

Lowie Museum, Seattle, Washington, Cat. No. 2-9161 – See: Ibid, pl. XII, for a mask collected by R. Neumann, Alaska Commercial Company, St. Michael, Alaska

Lowie Museum, Seattle, Washington, Cat. No. 2-6479 – See: Ibid, pl. 29 for another mask
collected by R. Neumann, Alaska Commercial Company, St. Michael, Alaska

The present mask bears a certain stylistic resemblance to wooden portrait masks carved by the neighbouring Inupiaq. The treatment of surface and reduced overall design suggest that it was created by a Central Yup’ik artist from the Norton Sound area, inhabited by both social groups. The village of St. Michael, founded in 1833 by the Russian-American Company, was an important trading post among the Indigenous peoples of Alaska, and it is likely the inspiration for the striking visual expression of the present mask was found there.

See more

Masks

See All Inuit