Polynesian objects from early European exploration, £19.99
Mask frontlet of the Wolf Dance
Nuu-Chah-Nulth, 18th century
From North America
The Klukwana, Shamans' or Wolf Dance
was the central winter ceremonial of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth. It was a
ritual for high-ranking male
This mask frontlet was made of red cedar. It has mica eyes, and an elk-skin (?) strap with nettle fibre ties. The teeth are made of dentalium shells, which were used as currency and widely traded, south to California and into the interior.
Sarah Guy, a Nuu-Chah-Nulth elder, recorded the words of a wolf song in the twentieth century: 'The wolves are howling, let this be a pleasant day'; the howling being a good omen for the ceremony.
J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)