dłam (Interior House Post)

About this object

History of use

Carved interior house posts acted as supports for enormous roof beams and they stood as part of the architecture of large dwellings designed to house several related families. They also stood as dramatic sculptures depicting the supernatural ancestors and histories of the chief’s na’mima, or “people of one kind.”


This carved post was from the house of Ha’m’cit.

Cultural context


Iconographic meaning

Bear is usually represented in Kwakwaka'wakw sculpture with squared snout and ears, flared nostrils, and fierce teeth.

Physical description

Large wooden house post carved in high relief. A large bear with a protruding snout, carved ovoid shaped eyes and bared teeth. In its paws it holds a human male figure with carved facial features; his arms are stretched back against the body of the bear. The bear stands on a human head with incised ovoid shaped eyes, protruding nose and mouth.