A white-faced mask, small circular eyeholes, red paint on lips and surrounding nostrils, bright red fabric rigging
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White-Faced Mask

White-Faced Mask

This mask is whitewashed, a technique used in Atłak´ima masks to signify a spirit and possibly in this case, a ghost. Its more feminine features suggest that it may represent a white woman.


Iwakalas, Harry Hanuse, Mamalilikala (Village Island)

Catalogue Information


Owned by Harry Hanuse 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 some of them to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, on long-term loan from the National Museum of Man (now the Canadian Museum of History). They remained in the possession of the ROM until the NMM pulled its loan and returned the pieces to the Nuyumbalees and U'mista cultural societies in 1988. In September 1993 Dan Hanuse Sr. requested that his father's pieces be transferred from Nuyumbalees to U'mista as per the wishes of the majority of Harry Hanuse's descendants.


Wood, Red Cedar; Paint; Fibre, Wool; Fibre, Cotton; Metal


24.0 cm x 17.0 cm

Accession Number


Physical Description

Unidentified mask (possibly a Whiteman) listed as belonging to Harry Hanuse from the Mamalilikala. It appears that it has been whitewashed and repainted at least once. The original black paint around the chin is showing through where the newer layer of paint has been buffed off. The mask has a human-like face with beady eyes. The mask appears to be a woman with a fine, somewhat pointy nose, fine lips painted red and a rounded forehead. The chin is fine and pointed as well. The mask has very flat facial features, unlike carvings representing Kwakwaka’wakw human characters. The rim of the mask is hammered with nails to hold a cloth to cover the back of the dancer’s head. The use of a cut-up red Hudson’s Bay Company blanket could support the choice of strap coloring as belonging to the T´seka “Red Cedar Bark Ceremonies”.