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Chugach, Native American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 746

Chugach masks with dramatic features are an integral part of social and ceremonial life. Each is unique, and they represent spirits, characters from legends, or powerful ancestors. The historical record indicates masks were often destroyed after their first performance, and in rare instances, they were also traded or gifted to Euro Americans. Masking traditions paused with the arrival of missionaries in the nineteenth century, and since the 1980s, Native communities in Alaska have brought back the practice of mask carving.

Mask, Wood, vegetable fiber and pigment, Chugach, Native American

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