Object photography

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Object description

  • Possibly Heiltsuk or Coast Tsimshian artist artist
  • Ancestor mask, 1840-1860
  • Wood, paint, plant fiber
  • British Columbia, Central Northwest Coast, Canada
  • H: 9 in, W: 6 3/4 in, D: 4 1/4 in (H: 22.9 cm, W: 17.1 cm, D: 10.8 cm)
  • Gift of Mr. Edward S. Moseley, 1979
  • E28573
  • Worn in dance and ceremony
  • Honors an important ancestral being in the family lineage

Although frequently referred to as portrait masks, this mask style depicts ancestral beings rather than actual human ancestors. In a Heiltsuk dance series called Dhuwlaxa ("returned from heaven"), mythic ancestors ascend to the heavens and then return to earth, emanating a radiant aura.