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Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art
Nepcetat Mask

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Record 232/826
Copyright New York State Historical Association, Cooperstown, NY
Object ID T0231
Object Name Nepcetat Mask
Description Central Yup'ik Eskimo Nepcetat Mask; Medium/Materials: Wood, swan feathers, old squaw duck, snowy owl feathers, fox teeth, Bearded sealskin thong, ochre, seal blood, blue, white & ash pigments; Marks: On reverse, in black ink: "G150";
Dimensions H-22 W-33 D-5 inches
Early Date 1850 ca.
Medium Bearded sealskin thong/ochre/seal blood/blue, white, ash pigments
Place of Origin Alaska, USA
People Central Yup'ik Eskimo/
Provenance (1) Jesuit Missionary. Wheeling, West Virginia. Collected them in while working in Alaska in 1870 and 1886.; (2) Diocese of Wheeling. Wheeling, West Virginia.; (3) Father Schoenberg. Pacific Northwest Indian Center, East 200 Cataldo, Spokane, Washington.; (4) Robert L. Stolper. New York City and Munich. June, 1985; (5) James Economos. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Acquired in 1982; (6) Andre Nasser. 885 Park Avenue, New York City 10021.; (7) Eugene V. Thaw. July 17, 1991.;
History Scholarly Attributions: [1] Chuna McIntyre - 13 April 1998 - "Sixteen feathers around the top relates to the cosmological division of four." May 1998 - "Labret shape resembles black water beetles which swim with black fish. Black fish are important food items. Often see little tails in the design of parkas. The black water beetles are also eaten but prepared in a special way - steam, wings plucked - they taste like sugar." [2] Chuna McIntyre - November 1998 - "Swan feathers are from mother's collection. There is a fragment of an appendage that originally came out through the mouth. See page 119 in Fienup-Riordan's book for an example. Some had a skin piece such as seal gut attached at the mouth. Holes with seal appendages... portals to other realms. The mask is a ticket / passport for shamans. The shape of the mask is feminine - the parka design is rounded at the bottom edge. " [3] Chuna McIntyre - telephone conversation September 1999 - "Likely Bearded sealskin thong used in restoration to tie swan feathers."
Used Central Yup'ik Eskimo
For access to this image, contact the Registrar, Fenimore Art Museum, (607) 547-1444.

Last modified on: March 02, 2006