Alutiiq/ Sugpiaq, Native American
The peoples of the Arctic region use music and performance to invoke the spirit realm. According to native Alaskan beliefs, spirits communicate with people through whistling: these masks may be the faces of such supernatural beings, as they appear to whistle at their beholders. The formal resemblance between the pair, including the prominent noses, minimal eyes, and pointed head decorations, may mark them as specific, linked characters in a myth. Early twentieth-century modernist artists and collectors were drawn to the bold simplicity of such works.