Giinaquq Like a Face Comme un visage: Sugpiaq Masks of the Kodiak Archipelago
This book is a collection and display of the Sugpiaq masks collected in 1871 by Alphonse Pinart, a young French scholar who studied the Indigenous languages of coastal Alaska and traveled through the Aleutian Islands, Bristol Bay, and Kodiak Archipelago. In this book, they are presented for the first time in their complete cultural context with details on the history, art, and significance of masks in the region. Giinaquq—Like a Face includes high quality images of the masks and an informative text in three languages— Sugt'stun (Kodiak Dialect), English, and French—in order to provide a cross-cultural understanding of the masks’ traditional meaning and use. The Alutiiq and Sugpiaq artists carved the masks featured in the book from wood or bark into images of ancestors, animal spirits, and other mythological forces. The book explains how masks served as an essential tool for communicating with the spirit world and have played an important role in dances and hunting festivities for centuries. The masks in the book have been preserved for more than a century as part of the Pinart Collection in a small French museum.