Mask of a raven's head with strips of fur attached. [HR 27/10/2005]
Place details: N AMERICA. Canada. British Columbia Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) NW Coast. Cultural Group: NW Coast Haida Local Name: niijang ('mask' Skidegate), níijaangw (Kaigani) Materials: Wood Plant / Pigment / Animal Fur Skin / ?. Processes: Carved / Painted / ?. Colour: Black Dimensions: Max L = 380 mm When Collected: Between 1882 and 1890 ? Acquired: Purchased 2 3 1891 Other Numbers: 8
KEYWORD: Mask / Ceremonial Object / Dance Accessory / CLASS: Mask / Ceremonial / Dance / ?.
Object description: Mask of a raven's head with strips of fur attached. The raven's head is carved from one piece of wood, which has largely been stained black on the outer surfaces. The eyes are not stained or pigmented but contain the remains of wooden pegs that appear to have held a separate eye cover that is now lost. A long strip of fur covered skin is attached to the rear of the mask through holes in the wood. The remains of wooden pegs and resinous adhesive on the top of the head suggest the loss of a fur/hair/skin addition. There are the faint remains of a white pigment in the facial carvings. [HR 27/10/2005]
Publications history, trails & websites: Reproduced in colour on page 186 of the exhibition catalogue 'From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia' edited by Sarah Milroy and Ian Dejardin, published 2014 by Art Gallery Ontario and Dulwich Picture Gallery. With the caption 'Raven Mask, Haida, 19th century. Wood pigment, animal skin and fur'. [FB 29/10/2014]
Illustrated in black and white as figure 3.3 on page 99 of 'This is our life: Haida material heritage and changing museum practice' by Cara Krmpotich and Laura Peers, UBC Press 2013 with the caption 'Jaalen Edenshaw posing with Raven mask at the Pitt Rivers Museum. Photograph by Natalie Fournier' [FB 07/01/2014]
Discussed by Charles Harrison on p. 87 of his Ancient Warriors of the North Pacific (London: H.F. and G. Witherby, 1925): ‘Another mask was that of a raven's head with an attachment of marten skin; it was used by the Shaman of the village upon the occasion of the ceremonial dance organized by the raven clan; this mask was at least one hundred and sixty years old.’ [JC 15 5 2003]