Mask of the Week

More from the BM, because they’ve got so much good stuff. This time a mask of Dzoonokwa:

Kwakwaka’wakw, 19th century AD, from British Columbia

Dzoonokwa is a giant of the forest, or Wild Woman of the Woods. She eats children, stops people from fishing, and encourages war. In one story a young woman comes across a Dzoonokwa catching salmon; she kills her and her family and uses the mother’s skull as a bath for her own daughter’s ritual empowerment. They were not all evil though; when a Dzoonokwa came across young men she may give them supernatural gifts – a self-paddling canoe, or the water of life.

Kwakwaka’wakw masks represent her with pursed lips so that the dancer wearing the mask could frighten the crowd with cries of ‘Ho, ho’.

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