Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The importance of the traditional Yup'ik ceremonial masks. The masks were worn by dancers in elaborate winter ceremonies to exorcise evil spirits and ward off misfortune and threat toward individuals or the villages. Also to honor the souls of the dead and of animals so that they would keep giving themselves up to the hunters so that the villages would have food. The mask would also represent creatures in the visions the shaman had such as trips to the spirit world including the sun and moon and heel the sick. The masks were also used to show respect for the spirits so that the spirits would not send misfortune and illnesses to the villages or the village hunters.