t̕łaḵwa (Copper)

About this object

History of use

Coppers can be named, displayed, and transferred in accordance with ceremonial privilege and protocol. Historically, within potlatch economies, coppers would rise in value each time they were purchased, ceremonially presented, and strategically re-sold or given away. Among the Kwakwaka’wakw, coppers were sometimes cut or broken during rivalries. Some of these were riveted together and used again, their value then having to be re-established.

Cultural context

status; wealth; ceremonial; potlatch

Physical description

Copper with a raised t-shape on the lower rectangular half. A simple human face is incised through a coating of dark paint (?) on the upper portion, which is slightly convex and has flaring side edges as well as a rounded top edge. Diagonal lines are incised on the lower portion and a border around the whole copper has been added in the same manner.