Tunghak Mask [Object of the Day #71]

September 26, 2012

Tunghak Mask
Tunghak Mask


This Tunghak Mask is a dance mask used to call upon pagan spirits and hosts. The design of the object is meant to be representational of visions that evoke the “other world”. The mask is surrounded by five holes that represent pathways to the spirit world. Around these holes are where birds, seals, and whales are positioned. This mask is carved from wood but also uses leather thongs to represent hair and an assortment of feathers that decorate the outer edge. You can see that the mouth is turned down, with two labrets (lip piercings) inserted into the lower lip.

To learn more about dance masks and other crafts from the Arctic Region check out Expedition magazine article The Vanishing Art of the Arctic by Froelich Rainey

Penn Museum Object #NA11783

See this and other objects like it on Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database