This mask was first produced of the Amos Family of Nunivak Island. My Uncle first designed this mask since he was a young man, after serving in the World War 11, he went back to Nunivak Island to continue his legacy of mask making in wood and Ivory. Since his departure, according to our traditional and family heritage, the family lineage in the traditional arts, must be handed down to the younger siblings within the family.
The masks of the ancient times were traditionally made of white spruce wood. The paint was made from red ochre rock mixed with seal blood, as an ancient tie to Spirit of the ocean mammal life they respected. The black paint was also used with a charcoal rock mixed in seal blood. The wood rings were professionally made through steaming the wood and bending them into shape. The Mask was tied with walrus sinew, to tie the rings together.
In the ancient times, the masks were made for traditional purposes as dancing, ritual and festive gatherings during the seasonal changes. During the timers past the masks were eventually made to trade for goods to trade at the Trading Store. The goods then were used for daily living, and hunting purposes in which helped the people live a better way of life. More of the characteristic designs of mask making in this time today are more contemporary designs fit for sale within the corporate, individual, also high end arts collector profile of indigenous arts of the Northwest Alaskan regions.
The base of the mask presents the Walrus and the Orca, the walrus was also highly respected, it provided the necessity of tools and hunting equipment, clothing, the covering for kayaks, ropes, boots and more, the orca was seen as a master species of the ocean life, knowing that when the hunters seen the Orca in the ocean there would certainly be seals in that very area of the ocean. The pieces around the mask presents the ocean mammals that are related as a species of our ancestors that hunted the species from generations before to this present time.
The pieces present the bowhead whale, the humpback whale, the harbor seal, the King Salmon, the walrus, the Seal Lion, the Orca Whale, the Halibut, and the Beluga Whale. The inner ring presents the earth in which provides the breath of life, the outer rings presents the universe, in which was known as the creator of all living.
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