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.

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More information


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


Height: 23.000 cm

Museum number

AOA Ethno 1986 Am18.150



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