In earlier times, the Fool Dancer enforced the strict rules of the Potlatch, hitting guests with clubs or axes if they did not behave properly. The most recognizable feature of the Nułamał is his huge nose which he is very self-conscious about. When the Nułamał is seen in potlatches today, he pretends to throw the mucus that is constantly flowing from his large nose on guests.
Owned by Harry Mountain until its forced surrender to Indian Agent William Halliday on March 25, 1922. Halliday later displayed and photographed the seized pieces at the Parish Hall in Alert Bay. After doing an inventory, he crated the items in June, and at the end of September he shipped them to Edward Sapir at the National Museum of Man (now the Canadian Museum of History). They remained the property of the NMM until their repatriation by the U’mista and Nuyumbalees Cultural Societies in 1979.
Wood, Cedar; Paint; Metal, Iron
Wooden mask, somewhat crudely carved and painted with an oil-base paint. A piece has been added to increase the site of the nose. The forehead is painted solid black. The outer eyelid line is painted black; the inner line is carved and painted red. The eyes are featured in black with eccentric pupils joined to the circle of iris. White painted eye sockets extend across the bridge of the nose. The nostrils are red. Black concentric crescents are painted on the cheeks; this line continues in a sequence of scalloped U-forms under the chin.