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Published onSep 15, 2022

Mask, 1998

Tytootsie Tunnillie (Inuit, b. 1974)


Gift of John L. and Ethel Margaret Gillmor Bohan. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.



Inuit shamans from the Cape Dorset region were frequently depicted with the ability to transform their bodies, particularly into the shape of animals. The carved mask shows the tattooing of the face that was common in this region. Shamans wore masks to aid in their practice of communication with spiritual beings. Masks obscure the face, and aid in a physical transformation that occurs in the real world. How might the altering of bodies, like wearing a mask, portray the particular roles of members of a society? What are some other objects or art meant for the body that aid in ceremony?

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