Portrait Mask with Chilkat Design

Alder, Pigments


Alder, Mask, Pigments, Wood

When I decided to make a portrait mask I researched many old Tlingit portrait masks in my books, on disc, and museum websites. After looking at so many examples, some character traits became apparent. They all had a sense of realism in the human quality of the way the face was carved. I kept thinking, “realism within the abstract.” Many of them had some face paint and most were smaller in size. At first these portrait masks can seem a bit plain. But after looking at a group of them and thinking about it, you realize that each was made to depict a real person, and that person did something important enough to warrant a mask being created of them. It would have been displayed at important events to recall the deed and show kinship.
-Scott Jensen