The short narratives are grouped into chapters on the traditional Yup'ik ceremonial cycle, the use of masks, life in the qasgiq (communal men's house), the suppression and revival of masked dancing, mask making, and song and dance, while the final three chapters are stories told by Yup'ik elders.
Like the masked dance ceremonies themselves, they look to the past to offer hope for the future.
Finally, it has long been known, ever since Warburg in fact, that Flora as depicted in Botticelli's Primavera (and to a lesser extent Flora in his Birth of Venus) bears a close resemblance to Politian's description of Simonetta Cattaneo Vespucci, the lady to whom Giuliano de' Medici had dedicated the joust he won in 1475, who is twice described in the Stanze per la giostra di Giuliano de' Medici as "masked," that is, as wearing a shining white dress "painted" with flowers: "Candida e ella, e candida la vesta / Ma pur di rose e fior dipinta e d'erba.
One example is the sestina Fuggo i bei raggi del mio ardente Sole of 1466, which is about Lorenzo's love for Lucrezia masked as Diana, and was sent her by way of Braccio Martelli and the brigata, who helped interpret it to her and for themselves.(34) On the deepest level, works like Politian's Stanze and Lorenzo's unfinished Comento to his own sonnets artfully mask larger (and differing) interpretations of contemporary events.
Simonetta is there masked as Lorenzo's own first love, a poetic role she had never played, and appears as Venus, the morning star, and the brightest light of heaven.
They can be understood only in terms of the historical persons and events thinly masked by their poetic diguisements.
Accordingly, even though the banner is lost, its allegory is really quite easy to read: Giuliano's fortune in the joust was dedicated to Simonetta who was masked on his standard as the virgin Pallas gazing steadily toward the sun, thereby showing his devotion to an idea of Chastity and sapient conquering of carnal love (the bound Cupid), and his desire to enter the field and win glory (the sun) for the Medici house (the broncone).