Interior House Post

About this object

History of use

The Klix'ken (sea lion) House was commissioned by Tza'kyius around 1906, and was the last old style house erected in Xwatis. 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

Edward Malin recorded the carver, George Nelson, as saying the crossbeam figure was “a supernatural double-headed sea lion.”

Physical description

Two upright posts and crossbeam that were part of a large interior house frame (also see records d-f and g-h). The uprights depict sea lions carved in high relief and painted (parts a-b). Their heads are equal in height to the bodies. Both part a and b have an eagle in profile within the front flippers. Part a has a top portion of a face inside part of a copper(?), painted on the back of its head that is part of a sisiutl that runs down the seal lion's back and into its hind flipper with a serpent head in each. The crossbeam (part c) is painted and carved as a supernatural double-headed sea lion. All parts are painted black and white (and some yellow highlights) with Northwest Coast stylized forms.