Aleutian couple, Ch. Huhn, 1862MAE
Aleutian couple, Ch. Huhn, 1862

Men's Tools

Hunting Spirits

Men wore wooden visors when hunting marine mammals, during battles, and during ceremonies for protection from glare off the water, dangerous conditions and evil spirits. Amulets, decorated motifs, whiskers, feathers, abstract bird beaks and stylized eyes attached to the visors provided hunters with the vision of a bird and the ability to see the spiritual worlds. Stylized images of the mythological thunderbird provided the power of death and rebirth. This bird lived in the high mountains or the sun and played an important role in southern Alaskan cultures. As it was considered more dangerous than the killer whale, these images were used especially on whale hunters' visors. In south-western Alaska, a hunter only had the power to kill a whale if he was transformed into a killer whale; visors were used to make the transformation.
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