Native America

Authentic Tlingit ceremonial mask

Alaska or NWC Canada
Alaska or NWC Canada

Q:  I purchased this mask from an online website that had it listed as an “antique unknown mask”. Upon first glance, I thought that the piece may be a newer Indonesian reproduction of a northwest coast mask, but after closer inspection, it appears that the mask has a considerable amount of age and wear consistent with use. I would just like to know whether this is an authentic Native American mask or not. Also, the shape of the eyes look similar to the almond shape that I see on Yupik masks, however the lip and brown form of the mask is consistent with northwest coast style.  Trent, 800

A:  You are right. This is not a fake made in Indonesia or anywhere else. I would say it is from SW Alaska or the extreme NWC of Canada. That is where the Tlingit people live. It could come from the nearby Eskimos or Athapaskan Indians. It may not be real old. In remote areas masks are occasionally used by shamen or for potlatch ceremonies. I think it is a very interesting piece. Hopefully someone who knows more about these cultures will offer a comment.  A

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