A Nanis or sea dog mask with long muzzle open mouth and sharp teeth, green paint surrounding eyes, sheep skin attached at back
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Nanis or 'Walas 'Wat´si

Sea-Grizzly or Dog of Heaven

Some scholars believe that this mask is a sea bear and others believe that it is a dog mask. It is the sheep-skin fur that makes it very unusual. If it is a dog, it would belong to one of the oldest dance societies of the Kwakwaka’wakw.


Kwaxalanukwame’, Johnny Drabble, Dzawada’enuxw (Kingcome Inlet)

Catalogue Information


Owned by John Drabble 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; Skin, Sheep; Skin, Bear; Fibre; Metal, Iron


19.0 cm x 33.0 cm (L - does not include sheep skin)

Accession Number


Physical Description

Mask representing a bear or a dog featuring a long muzzle with an open mouth displaying teeth. The area around the eyes is painted green. The nostrils are painted red inside. Sheep skin is attached to the back of the mask to cover the wearer; another piece covers the back of the jaw.