Wood is viewed as having feeling, capable of both gratitude and retaliation. Men carved masks to represent the inua of the driftwood, which required as much attention as any living creature.
Just as people performed agayu, dances, to request that animals and fish return in abundance. They also danced to coax the return of driftwood, when the spring thaw brought flowing rivers. Cottonwood and spruce washed down the river and drifted onto the shores.
There was an immediateness between wood-gathering and mask-making.
Collector: Henry Neuman 1890
Hand Carved In Alaska from Black Cottonwood by Dave Hendren.
Trimmed with reindeer fur.
Approx Size from top of head to bottom of carving: 7" inches