Dance mask - ROM2009_10980_3

ROM2009_10980_3

Dance mask

Maker: Possibly Daniel Houstie, Heiltsuk (Bella Bella)
Medium:Wood, leather, rubber ?, nails, paint
Geography: Bella Bella or Waglisla, British Columbia
Date: late 19th century
Dimensions:
28 x 22.8 x 24 cm
Object number: 906.2.19
Not on view
DescriptionAt one time the mask had hair, moustache, and goatee of fur. The rotating orbs of the eyes, which are fringed with long black lashes, are carved and painted on one side with a half circle (eyes closed) and on the other with a white circular pupil (eyes open). A tube of black rubber (?) is nailed to each orb and to the top of the inside of the mask. Strings attached to metal loops on the back of each orb allowed the wearer to open and close the eyes. When mask was asleep, the orbs were pulled down extending the rubber bands. When the strings were released, the rubber contracted and the eyes snapped open. Nails at the sides of eye sockets controlled the extent of the pivot. Collected in 1901 by Reverend Dr. R.W. Large, Methodist missionary.
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