A Dzunukwa or wild woman of the woods mask, deep carved, dark paint with red lips cheek and ears, holes drilled in scalp where hair had been attached
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Wild Woman of the Woods

In most Dzunuk´wa legends, this giant of the woods is female, black in colour, with messy hair, exposed breasts and a puckered mouth. She is a terrifying and threatening creature who carries a huge basket on her back into which she puts the mischievous children she captures. Although Dzunuk´wa is a giant, she is easily out-witted by children as she is not so smart and very clumsy.

Dzunuk´wa by Pauline Alfred

Catalogue Information


Wood, Cedar; Paint, Graphite; Paint, Enamel; Fibre, Cotton; Hair, Human


40.8 cm

Accession Number


Physical Description

Dzunuk´wa mask mask painted black with graphite admixture overall. The eyes, ears, mouth, and lower cheek hollows are red, composed of an underpainting of vermilion which was later painted over with red enamel. The ears are separate pieces attached with twine. There are three parallel lines of holes drilled across the forehead intended to receive pegs used to secure human hair (little evidence of hair at present). The upper cheek hollows are on the same horizontal plane as the ears. There are slight hollows at both edges of the forehead. The deep carving, the many hollows and the angular features give this mask a skeletal look.