Arctic clothing, £25.00
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)