Bird Mask

About this object

History of use

Worn by female attendant, hiligaxslhe', in taming the Hamats!a dancer.

Iconographic meaning

Represents Raven at the North End of the World, Gwaxgwaxwalanuxsiwe', one of the servants of Baxbakwalnuxsiwe': cannibal at the north end of the world.

Physical description

Wooden, carved, supernatural bird mask with a long beak and circular cutout nostrils. The beak is hinged with fibre twine on either side; the beak is now fixed shut. The beak and nostrils are painted black with red edging. There are two red split U forms and one orange U-form carved at the back of the beak running towards the nostril. The eyes are white, outlined in black on a white, ovoid shaped background; brow is black. Attached to the top of the head is a fringe of cedar bark; pieces of braided cedar line the bottom rim. The inside of the mask is hollow with the exception of an attached twine cord that assistants the beak in opening and shutting. The mask is painted black, red, white and orange with Northwest Coast stylized designs.