A large Maxinuxw or killer whale mask, numerous hinged parts, dorsal fins, flipper and tail, black red and white markings, pale green beak which projects over the upper jaw
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Mungo Martin (attributed by Peter L. Macnair)

Catalogue Information


Wood, Cedar; Paint; Fibre, Cotton; Oilcloth; Skin, Cow; Metal, Iron

Accession Number


Physical Description

Killer whale mask carved from red cedar in several pieces. The head and body are one unit. The eye socket is painted green and this colour extends beyond the nostrils to the recurved beak which projects over the upper jaw. The eyelid line is painted black; the inner eyelid is carved and painted white only. Eccentric pupil joins circle of iris at top, centre. There are two-dimensional designs painted on dorsal and pectoral fins. The flippers, dorsal fin and tail are separate articulated attachments which are designed to be manipulated with cords by the wearer. The flippers and tail are hinged with strips of rubberized fabric, with the joints concealed on the outside surface with painted cloth. All this fabric is attached with nails. The dorsal fin is housed in a wide slot which runs the length of the whales' back. It pivots on a wooden peg which runs laterally, through the body, and can be raised to a vertical position by pulling on a cord which is tied to the leading edge. When the fin is raised, another cord leading from the back edge of the fin lifts the tail. The lower jaw is now detached (though preserved), but was originally hinged to the head with leather strips. A piece of rubberized fabric is nailed to the inside of the mask, presumably to form a cushion for the wearers' head. Long harness cords are tied through each lower edge, towards the back end of the whale. Black, green, white, red.