Mask, ca. 1915. Alaska, Nunivak Island, Eskimo, Cup'ik. Wood, cormorant feathers, sinew, and pigment. FAMSF, bequest of Thomas G. Fowler, 2007.21.112
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Eskimo and Inuit people believe that all living things—and even inanimate objects—possess yua, a spirit or soul. Carved masks, sculptures, and everyday objects reflect not only their time-honored beliefs and traditions, but also their gratitude and respect for spirits, animals, land, and sea.
Jill LeCrone is a docent at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.