Northwest Coast Mask

This is a large mask with the stylized face of the northern Washington Coast with accentuated deep brows. It was painted in black, red, vermillion and what appears to be a thick yellowish white paste which covered most of the face. Although it is missing now with just a couple of pegs to show where it was attached, it had some sort of hair or cedar bark on the top of the head which came down the sides to just above the upper jaw which was painted red down to the chin. The area that would have been covered was never smoothed as the rest of the mask is and clearly shows the adze marks from its being carved. Below the nose there is a strip of leather over a black painted band which extends beyond the leather which may have served as a mustache. There are three pegs below the lower lip which probably secured a beard. There is an old break on the left side from the jaw to under the chin which had been glued back. Inside the mask is an old tag, possibly from a museum, indicating "Smits Collection", "Makah mask" and two different numbers. There is a picture from the early 1900’s of the interior of the Smits' house showing items in the collection including this mask.


L.15 ¼”; W. 11”

19th Century
Sold #8181

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