UNIDENTIFIED, possibly Inupiaq, Point Hope, Alaska
wood and baleen
mounted on a custom metal stand, c. late 19th century
4.5 x .75 in — 11.4 x 1.9 cm
This mask’s minimalist features, coupled with natural imperfections in its surface, serve only to accentuate the its overall gentle convex form. It is unadorned and has no existing or missing attachments other than the remnants of a baleen strap that would have fitted it to the wearer’s head. Very unlike the often highly ornamented masks (mostly Yup’ik) that are typically associated with the Alaskan masking tradition, it nonetheless has quite a powerful presence.
First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art Auction www.firstarts.ca
Provenance: a B.C. private collection