Catalog Number : E17325
Accession Number : 4615
Material : Wood, paint, cedar bark, metal nails, string
The ghosts of Kwakiutl folklore can be either benevolent or dangerous, and their appearance may be a blessing or spell disaster for those who see them. Ghosts may sing their messages to the living, and some stories state that they can bring the dead back to life with their touch. According to anthropologist Franz Boas, ghost mask dancers frequently appeared during winter ceremonies. For more on Franz Boas, see the section entitled "Kwakiutl Ethnography". For more on Winter ceremonies, see the section entitled "Kwakiutl Ceremonial Life".
Catalog Number : E17324
Accession Number : 4615
Material : Wood, paint, cotton textile, string, metal
Loons commonly appear in Kwakiutl folklore, playing a wide variety of roles, and are often associated with Kumugwe, the sea god. For more on Kumugwe, see the section entitled "Kwakiutl Cosmology".
Catalog Number : E17323
Accession Number : 4615
Material : Wood, paint, horsehair and hide, burlap, metal nails
Catalog Number : E17322
Accession Number : 4615
Material : Wood, paint, string, metal nails, hide, hair
The quality of workmanship and hair on this piece suggest it was a chiefly mask. If so, it may not have been danced, as is generally the case with such elite masks, and was instead used at the end of a potlatch to symbolize great wealth and power. For more on Dzunukwa, see the section entitled "Kwakiutl Cosmology".
Catalog Number : E17321
Accession Number : 4615
Material : Wood, paint, cotton textile, string
This mask may represent the merging of two clans as represented by both the killer whale mask and the hand/sun motif on the backboard unified into a single crest.
Catalog Number : E17320
Accession Number : 4615
Material : Wood, paint, metal nails, bark, string, canvas
Pugwis is also known as the Man of the Sea, and is recognizable by his pronounced incisors, circular eyes, and the gills on his cheeks. Though not evident on this mask, Pugwis is often portrayed as having a loon on his head, which, according to some myths, landed there thinking Pugwis' head was an island.
Catalog Number : E17319
Accession Number : 4615
Material : Wood, paint, metal, mirrors
Mask's eyes have mirror inlays. Like the shark, whale, and sea lion, the octopus is a powerful creature associated with magical powers and the kingdom under the sea.
Catalog Number : E17318
Accession Number : 4615
Material : Wood, paint, string, feathers, metal nails
For more information on Raven, see the section entitled "Kwakiutl Cosmology".
Catalog Number : E17317
Accession Number : 4615
Material : Wood, paint, feathers, metal nails, string
This headdress is likely of the "helmet" variety, and is not the type typically worn by chiefs. The loon on this headdress is probably a family crest.
Catalog Number : E17315
Accession Number : 4615
Material : Wood, paint, string
Movable dorsal and pectoral fins and tail. Dorsal fin retracts to reveal eagle figure. Whale masks are typically quite large and are usually worn over the dancer's back, freeing the dancer's hands to pull strings that would cause the fins and tail to move. Killer whale masks like this one are typically danced at the Tta'sata ceremony and are associated with great wealth and clan ancestors, or may represent servants of the sea god, Kumugwe.