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Bering Sea Eskimo.
A blood-stained tunghak is seen in the face of this bird mask, which combines stylistic features of Eskimo and Indian art. Inua and tunghak masks are common in Bering Sea Eskimo culture, but the use of fur, painted hair, and cylindrical ear ornaments are typical of Ingalik Indian masks.

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Although human-nonhuman interaction is made possible by the common possession of an immortal soul and a mind meriting respect, men and animals are also clearly differentiated. Within the oral tradition, these differences are least evident in the traditional tales of time out of mind. Moreover, the reality of the mythical space-time they describe is still believed to be present, although largely invisible. In these tales, animals are often encountered who lift up their beaks or muzzles, transforming themselves into human form. In the tale of Ayugutaar, a Nelson Island hunter who was visited by a wolf, the hunter's initial encounter with the wolf is described as follows:

After doing something around its head
and doing something to its mouth
when it faced him
it became this way
taking its hood off.

In the same way, gaining awareness ("elange-") is sometimes equated with peeling back the skin of an animal, as when puppies born to a Nelson Island woman who had married a dog peeled back their fur and revealed themselves to their mother in human form. Nineteenth-century transformation masks are a vivid portrayal of this perception of reality.

- Ann Fienup-Riordan
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