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Yupik Yup'ik Native American Alaska Carved Polychrome Wood Anthropomorphic Mask



A fantastic and somewhat grotesquely strange mask by the Yup'ik (Yupik) aboriginal, indigenous people of South-Western & South Central Alaska. The Yup'ik people, who are related to the Inuit peoples, have a long history of ceremonial mask making. Yup'ik masks were originally and specifically designed by Shamans and made to be worn by these spiritual leaders in Winter tribal dances and sacred ceremonies. Traditionally, the masks were destroyed or discarded after use in these ceremonies. Very few of these masks survived. After Christian contact in the late 19th century, masked dancing was suppressed and the tradition all but died out. As more outsiders settled in Alaska at the turn of the century, masks were made by the Yup'ik people to sell or trade for necessary goods. It is likely that this mask was created some years later for this purpose. In the 20th century, Yup'ik mask had a profound influence on many renowned surrealist artists including, Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Leonora Carrington, Victor Brauner, and most notably Andre Breton who was an avid collector of Yup'ik masks. This fantastic anthropomorphic mask is carved of lighter wood, hand painted and decorated with pigment, and held together with natural fiber. Feathers adorn the head and painted teeth line the mischievous spirit figure's grin. The mask is from a French collection. We were told that this mask, as well as others in the collection we have listed, was acquired originally in the 1950s-1960s in Alaska and the Yukon territory in Canada but as we have no way to verify or authenticate this. Please note we are listing the masks as decorative and not as actual tribal artifacts. We are not experts in this area and do not know for sure their actual age and are therefore listing as 20th century. Would be a very eye-catching piece virtually in any setting. Rare and spectacular overall. Dimensions (without feather): 17.5" high, 14" wide, 2.5" deep.


  • Dimensions
    Height: 17.5 in. (44.45 cm)Width: 14 in. (35.56 cm)Depth: 2.5 in. (6.35 cm)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    Mid to Late 20th Century
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. In very good vintage condition with natural wear consistent with age and use (please see photos). The feathers are wilting and will need to be replaced at some point. Very wonderful and engaging work overall.
  • Seller Location
    Studio City, CA
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU2254320114892

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    $110 Standard Parcel Shipping
    to anywhere in the world, arrives in 3-5 weeks.
    We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Studio City, CA
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 7 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
4.9 / 5
Located in Studio City, CA
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