House Post

About this object

History of use

The beams and figures stood as part of a house frame, and acted as structural supports. Figures represented on house frames were supernatural beings which the family living in the house had the right, through their history and origins, to represent.


Klix’ken Gukwdzi, or Sea-Lion House, was built sometime around 1906. Like other houses in the village it had a modern exterior with milled-lumber front and windows. Yet it also featured carved sea-lion posts supporting the boardwalk, and inside, a monumental post-and-beam structure with carved and painted house posts, beams, and other symbols of the family’s history. Klix’ken House was the last old-style dwelling erected in Xwatis as a home for an extended family or lineage—and probably one of the last built on the entire coast.

Cultural context


Iconographic meaning

Slaves were captured members of other Northwest Coast groups.

Physical description

Part of interior house frame (also see records a-c and g-h). The large wooden human figure (part d) is carved in high relief in a seated position. It is painted with a killer whale on its chest and broken coppers on both arms. In between his hands and below the killer whale is a small white face. The head is large, has a protruding nose and mouth, large carved eyes and is heavily decorated with yellow, white and black Northwest Coast stylized designs. Before the figure stands a wooden platform or seat supported by two kneeling slave figures (parts e-f), with unusual grimacing faces. Both figures have their outside arm rested on the ground while the other is turned backwards as if to support the seat that rests on their backs. Their eyes and bared teeth are carved in shallow relief while the rest of their face is carved in high relief. Their arms and upper body are painted green with black rings around the wrist and forearm. Their faces are painted green, white and black with Northwest Coast stylized designs.