ťłag̱a̱kwa̱x̱awe' (Neck Ring)

About this object

History of use

Neck ring of shaman, paxala (D. Hawkins, 1966). Used by women (T. Johnson, 1966). Part of a T’seka dancer's outfit.

Narrative

Sold to MOA by Jonathan “Odi” Hunt, Gigame (Chief) Kwakwabalasami, of Tsaxis (Fort Rupert), with whistles, rattles, masks, and frontlets that belonged to him and his wife Abusa. In 1951, when anti-potlatch legislation was dropped from the Indian Act, Mr. Hunt wrote to Audrey Hawthorn, then MOA’s curator, to offer these items to the museum. The financial transaction in no way marked an end to this hereditary leader’s continued valuing of ceremonial practice, or his sense of museums as a place to preserve and present aspects of Kwakwaka’wakw culture: he went on to allow a replica of his ceremonial house to be built inside the Royal British Columbia Museum, potlatching for it there and in Alert Bay to affirm his continued cultural ownership of the house and its images.

Specific techniques

The cedar bark is spun one direction in an S-twist, and the other direction in a Z-twist, and then you put them together and it looks like a braid. This neck ring is spun with multi-strands all at the same time: when you look where it can move, you can see that there’s more than four strands.

Physical description

Very thick multi-strand ring of dark orange-red cedar bark rope. Braided appearance. Bundles of lengths of thin twisted cedar bark rope tied to the main ring in two places. Bundle of shredded cedar bark also tied to the main ring.