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Wolf or Sisiutl Mask (One of a Pair)

Arts of the Americas

MEDIUM Cedar wood, pigment, plant fiber, cotton string, cloth, iron nails
DATES 19th century
DIMENSIONS 10 x 26 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (25.4 x 66.7 x 21.6 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1908, Museum Collection Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION This is one of a pair of wolf (?) masks (see 08.491.8905b). Both are constructed of wood pieces nailed together to make flat sided, flat ended forms with painted faces. The two masks generally resemble each other; however, there are construction differences between them and the painted forms on each mask differ. Both have openwork frets along the top and cut out teeth. Remnants of cedar bark hair are inside the top frets on each mask. Both have ovoid eyes; however, one mask's eye area is infilled with black dots and the other's has solid red infill. A long, thick curved eyebrow arches over each eye on both masks; however, nostrils differ: one has nostrils with black over red painted geometric forms; the other has black painted swirled nostrils. There is uncertainty whether the pair represent wolves or serpents. They might be serpents for if the objects were wolves, they most likely would have no ears. The object (08.491.8905a) appears to be structurally stable except for the fabric attached at the front under the jaw. Also, the split cane bundles that represent fur (?) are dried and brittle. The proper left side of the mask appears to have been repainted. The mask is properly worn on the top of the head with the face forward.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka). Wolf or Sisiutl Mask (One of a Pair), 19th century. Cedar wood, pigment, plant fiber, cotton string, cloth, iron nails, 10 x 26 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (25.4 x 66.7 x 21.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1908, Museum Collection Fund, 08.491.8905a. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 08.491.8905a_08.491.8905b_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE group, 08.491.8905a_08.491.8905b_SL1.jpg.
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