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Yup’ik dance mask featuring a seal in the centre and three concentric loops | Donald Ellis Gallery

Dance Mask

Southwest Alaska

late 19th century

wood, pigments, vegetal fibres

height: 12"

Inventory # CE4083

Please contact the gallery for more information.


Merton Simpson Gallery, New York, NY
Private collection, New York, NY
Donald Ellis Gallery, New York, NY


Art of the Arctic: Reflections of the Unseen (Masks), Ellis, London, Black Dog Publishing, 2015, pg. 75, pl. 18


Sheldon Jackson Museum, llB161a,b, for a pair of finger masks featuring a hole in the ringed center. See: Fienup-Riordan, Ann. The Living Tradition of Yup'ik Masks. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1996, pg. 114, in which the author writes:

“The ringed center featured on this pair of dance fans was a strong image in Yup’ik cosmology. Much ritual activity focussed on clearing the paths of animals and spirits into and out of the human world. Movement between worlds through circular or square holes was a constant theme in daily and ceremonial life”

Sheldon Jackson Museum, cat. no. 11HB, see: Ibid, pg. 175 for a mask featuring a hole in the centre, said to represent a bubble in the ice

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