A Nunivak Island Polychrome Mask c. 1935Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionA Nunivak Island Polychrome Mask
wood, pigments, sinew, fiber
The naturalistic, tattooed male face is enclosed by two rings representing heaven and earth. The wooden rings support various inua, or spirit helpers, including a pair of human hands, each with a typically truncated thumb, a pair of human legs, a pair of dissimilar whales, and a puffin's head, among others. These spirit helpers would have been personally curated by the mask's maker, coming into his consciousness in times of fasting or during spirit quests.
Collected by William E. Scheele (April 4, 1920 – October 10, 1998), former Director of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History from 1949 to 1972.
North by Southwest, The Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science, Tallahassee, FL, 2010
Diameter: 23 inches overall
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000.
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