Pair of masked dancers performing at Hooper Bay in 1946.
The final winter ceremony--Agayuyaraq (way of requesting or praying for abundance)--involved singing songs of supplication to the animals' yuit (their persons), accompanied by masked dances performed under the shaman's direction. Men created ritually powerful masks through which the animals' yuit and shamans' spirit helpers revealed themselves as simultaneously dangerous and helpful. Used in enactments of past spiritual encounters, the masks had the power to evoke such encounters in the future.
Mask collected from Qissunaq in 1905 by Tununak trader I. A. Lee. Toggle harpoon points are appended to the lower face, over which two seal figures arch, topped by hunters in kayaks.
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University 66314
Mask collected from Qissunaq. The large knobs may represent seal breathing holes, as a walrus and a seal emerge from them. The grass figure on top wears a European style hat.
I. A. Lee, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University 66315
Kegginaquq/Mask said to represent a tuunraq, a shaman's helping spirit, used in dances to request future abundance, symbolized by the carved creatures on the mask's forehead.
E. W. Nelson, 1878, Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution 33118
Kegginaquk Pair of Masks
Kegginaquk/Pair of masks from Pastuliq, each embodying the unique verse of a dance song.
Phoebe Apperson Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley 2 6442, 2-6478