Native America

NWC Indian mask


Q:  I just picked up a bunch of native Canadian masks which is an area I know nothing about, but I instantly fell in love with them. I have identified each of them the best I could by using your book.  I have uploaded my favorite one. All have been signed by a wolf cane and dated from 1971-74.  Dan, 904

A:  We usually refer to masks from the Indian tribes that populate coastal Washington, British Columbia, and lower Alaska as Northwest Coast, or NWC. I think this one was made by a hobbyist, or for tourists and collectors. It would be helpful to find out who the carver was.  Also check out the many books and photos you can find on the internet about these masks. The style may be characteristic of a particular tribe. Maybe one of our readers can identify the “wolf cane” carver.aaaMystrySolvd-904b


  • Conrad

    Hello. The ebay seller (primativestuff) you purchased this from does not sell original NWC pieces, they are all reproductions. I have told them many times but they still insist on listing them as original. Sorry

  • monica

    thank you. I have been wondering for a long time whether or not to buy an item from this retailer and now I have the answer. I guess the right name is “primitive…etc”, isn’t it?
    Thank you anyway.

  • Bill Burnside

    The Indonesian masks can best be identified from the grain pattern on the back side. Cedar is the vast majority of the wood choice. Rarely you’ll see a Red Alder chosen. The tropical specie used does not have the distinctive rings of cedar. And, usually, the Indonesian fakes have no signature.

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