Raven who Married the Chief’s Daughter

Raven who Married the Chief’s Daughter courtesy of {Alaska State Museum – Juneau} was a mask that caught my eye while I was browsing the Alutiiq section of the SLAM. This mask was made by Perry Eaton in 2013 so its not exactly an ancient artifact but it still has a traditional story behind it.

There are variations of this story along the coast of Alaska but I found a Tlinget version that was easy for me to understand. In the story, a chief allows Raven to marry his daughter named Fog Over the Salmon, with the condition that he would treat her well. They were happily married but during a hard winter they were without food. Fog Over the Salmon wove a large basket and when she completed it and washed her hands in it, the basket was full of salmon. The couple now had everything they needed. But Raven forgot that his good fortune was owed to his wife and started to treat her badly. He hit her with a piece of dried salmon and she ran away. All the dried salmon they had followed her, he tried to catch her but she turned to fog.

The full version is here: http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/IKS/subsistence/Tlingit/fogwoman.html.

So who is this Mask Maker Perry Eaton? I did not know who he is but I assume some of our class might. He is from Kodiak and is the founder of the Alaska Native Heritage Center and spent 17 years as the CEO of the Alaska Village Initiative which helps promote economic growth in the villages. He makes these masks in a similar fashion and design as the original Alutiiq masks, mostly they feature a sharp up or down turned brows and a distinct nose. Like the traditional Alutiiq masks they are also sometimes burned after the dance they are featured in. The one time use of masks means that there are very few left today. However, a Frenchman named Alfonse Pinart, traveled Alaska in 1872, and he collected over 70 Alutiiq masks which still reside today in a museum in France. They were brought to Kodiak in 2008 for a temporary exhibit allowing the local people to experience a piece of the rich history again.

As I tried to uncover the full story of this mask I ended up doing alot of side research and now I feel even more drawn to this piece.

 

2 thoughts on “Raven who Married the Chief’s Daughter”

  1. It is great that as we go through the museum, we are able to look up artists on our phones and to see what they are working on, how they may relate to their community, and possibly what projects they may be involved with now.

  2. I really liked this post – I liked that you researched the artist and the story and provided so much context for us to understand the work of art. That’s a haunting story, I love it.

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