The Arctic is one of the harshest environments on earth. There is also great regional diversity, from the rainy coast of Alaska to the desert of the High Arctic. Inuit within each region developed clothing, qajait, and tool styles that reflect these regional differences. This variation is reflected in contemporary artistic traditions.
early 20th century
drift wood, spruce root, metal
Yup'ik masks made the invisible visible. They are the physical representations of encounters with the spirit world. Spiritual leaders design the masks to represent beings they have seen while in a trance. Every element and motif of a mask has a special purpose, the meaning of which is known only to the creator of the mask.