Two carved salamander figures, attached to forearms with string, painted bright green, part of a Bak´was or Wild Man of the Woods costume
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Salamanders - Wild-Man of the Woods Costume

The Bak´was performer holds his forearm up to hide his masked face from observers. This particular costume includes carved gloves on hands, lizards down the arm, the Sisiyutł as a belt, frogs on the kneecaps, snakes down the legs. The Bak´was mask to the left completes this costume.


Charlie James (attributed)

Catalogue Information


Owned by Bondsound 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; Fibre, Cotton; Paint; Fibre


98.5 cm

Accession Number

80.01.142 a&b

Physical Description

The carvings probably represent salamanders. Both bodies are carved from red cedar with flexible legs and tails made of stuffed cloth bound with string. The bodies and appendages are painted green. The carvings feature black eyes, eyebrows and nostrils, and red lips. The right front leg is missing on carving, and the right front and left rear legs are missing on the other. Cloth strands on both suggest these were tied to the dancer’s limbs, probably forearms. Green, black, natural wood, red, white.