Mask

About this object

Iconographic meaning

Represents frog: waq!es.
Simon Dick suggested this mask may be from the story of all of the creatures who lived in a supernatural cave on Shoal Harbour, Gilford Island. All of the living creatures lived in this cave, with the wolf as the head chief. Inside the cave they disrobed and became human. There are stories of several people at different times encountering a huge frog, several feet high. This large frog mask may represent one of those frogs, because the mask is extraordinarily large (2011).

Specific techniques

According to Simon Dick, one of the inner cords, rigged to move the mouth open and closed, is strung through a specially carved channel within the mask's walls, from the inner side to the mouth. Dick said this method is extremely rare, and very cleverly done. The green cord is halibut-fishing longline, used from the 1940s on for many purposes, including mask rigging. The cedar bark was done by someone very knowledgeable about working with cedar bark, as it is very skillfully done in layers from a twisted-braided base.

Physical description

Mask representing a frog with large bulbous eyes, a wide mouth with thick lips with painted crescent-shaped nostrils in red and white over the upper lip, and a movable jaw. There is a copper strip inside the mouth and the top and back of the head are adorned with a cedar bark fringe. Colours are red, green, white, and black.