Height: 30.000 cm
AOA Ethno 1855,11-26.169
Africa, Oceania, Americas
Figure of a shaman's spirit helper
Yup'ik, 19th century
From Alaska, United States of America
Shamans are believed to have the power to heal
the sick and to communicate with the world beyond.
Masks with large toothy mouths are also related to a deformed creature called Hammer Child: the large mouth indicates that the creature may eat people who break taboos. Cecilia Foxie, from Emmonak, Alaska, told Ann Fiennup-Riordan in 1993 the tradtional story of a boy who explored a house after having been forbidden to do so. Consequently he was given a bowl which contained a baby with the stomach slashed open to form a mouth with teeth.
J.C.H. King (ed.), Human image (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)