Alutiiq masks from the Kodiak archipelago at the Boulogne-sur-Mer Museum

Alutiiq masks from the Kodiak archipelago at the Boulogne-sur-Mer Museum 1

Dreaming about my next holiday, I reminded I still had to post some pictures of my previous field-trip. I had already discussed the African art on view at the Boulogne-sur-Mer Museum (here), but still had to show their incredible ensemble of Alutiiq masks from the Kodiak archipelago.

They were collected during the winter of 1872-1873 by the then 20 year old French anthropologist Alphonse Pinart. He traveled the Kodiak archipelago by kayak, assembling the largest set of traditionally crafted Alutiiq ceremonial masks in the world; 87 in total. Pinart recognized both the artistic and cultural value of these unique pieces, collecting the names and songs associated with many. When he died in 1911, Pinart bequeathed the masks to the Boulogne-sur-Mer Museum. You can discover 65 masks more in detail here.

Alutiiq masks from the Kodiak archipelago at the Boulogne-sur-Mer Museum Pinart

Alutiiq masks from the Kodiak archipelago at the Boulogne-sur-Mer Museum 2

Boulogne-sur-Mer Museum Pinart mask

In 2008, the Alutiiq Museum and the Boulogne-sur-Mer Museum partnered to create an exhibition of 34 masks from Pinart’s Kodiak collection. After 136 years, the masks returned to Alaska for nine months, visiting Kodiak and then Anchorage. An online presentation of that exhibition can be found here.

Trivia of the day: the crystal skull at the Musée du quai Branly once was owned by Pinart (info) !