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Alderwood mask of a woman of high rank, possibly Djiláquons

 

Height: 23.000 cm

AOA Ethno 1986 Am18.150

Africa, Oceania, Americas

    Alderwood mask of a woman of high rank, possibly Djiláquons

    Haida, around AD 1830
    From British Columbia

    With labret (lip plug) and painted crest design

    This Haida mask proclaims the high status of the woman depicted, through the labret, or lip plug. European explorers such as Captain George Vancouver, in the 1790s, noted the authority of Native American women who wore such labrets. As leaders in matrilineal societies they would stand up in canoes and eloquently greet the strangers. While the Europeans did not understand the speeches, any more than they could comprehend the unusually high status of women, they avidly collected labrets, as well as masks of this type.

    This particular mask may represent Djiláquons, one of the most important ancestors or patrons of the Eagle moiety (division) of the Haida people.

    J.C.H. King (ed.), Human image (London, The British Museum Press, 2000)

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    Arctic clothing, £25.00

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