Headdress

About this object

Narrative

William Wasden Jr. attributes this whale headdress to artist John Davis (older half-brother to Willie Seaweed, 1869-1939). There is a similar piece in the collection of the British Museum, also made by Davis. The latter is pictured in a photo where it is worn by John Nulis of the Gixsam clan (see "Standing Up with Ga’axsta’las: Jane Constance Cook and the Politics of Memory, Church, and Custom," by Leslie A. Robertson with the Kwagu'l Gixsam Clan, UBC Press, 2012: 62).

Iconographic meaning

Represents killer whale: max'inux.

Physical description

Painted wooden headdress in the form of a killer whale, carved in four sections around a fur-trimmed inner band; face with an open, toothy mouth and all features in relief, two fins on the sides, and a three-dimensional tail piece attached at the back. A wooden bar is fixed across the top of the inner band with a tall, vertical dorsal fin protruding from its centre. Colours used are black, red, green and white.