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Description of Seal Mask

Inuit/Eskimo seal masks first emerged as part of complex rituals and celebrations that featured dance, gesture, singing, and drumming. This is the context in which they are best understood. Besides representing the seal’s Yua, or soul, as visible in its facial characteristics and the flippers linked to its sides, this mask also symbolizes the souls of all seals. Also vaguely human is the face. Many masks emphasized the power of creatures and people to change shape, a frequent shamanistic idea, besides symbolizing the spirit of the animals depicted. Shamans, who either carved the masks themselves or oversaw the carving, based them on their visions. The upward-projecting, ring-shaped rod shows bubbles rising to the surface of the water.

Bold – Light – Solid – Duotone
Each variation is included in the file package

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