Bak’was (Wild Man of the Woods) Mask
wood, wolf fur, paint, cloth, cord, and metal
Native Arts acquisition funds
Kwakwaka'wakw artist, Bak’was (Wild Man of the Woods) Mask, early 1900s. Wood, wolf fur, paint, cloth, cord, and metal; 74 x 11 x 13 1/2 in. Denver Art Museum: Native Arts acquisition funds, 1953.400
Dimensionsheight: 13.25 in, 33.6550 cm; length: 74 in, 187.9600 cm; width: 11 in, 27.9400 cm; depth: 13.5 in, 34.2900 cm
CollectionIndigenous Arts of North America
Native peoples on the Northwest Coast have rich masking traditions that play a role in great feasts called potlatches, held to recognize and celebrate clan status. Each clan has its own crest or symbols visually proclaiming ownership of everything from clan names to fishing territories. Artists are commissioned to carve, paint, or sew clan symbols on clan members’ belongings. The masks of the Northwest Coast collection were made by artists from different tribal groups and serve a variety of purposes. Some feature clan symbols while others were made for specific ceremonies, fashioned as portraits, or created for the contemporary art market.
Known ProvenanceWalter C. Waters (Bear Totem Store), Wrangell, AK; Mrs. Mabel Waters (Bear Totem Store), Wrangell, AK, before 1952; University of Washington, Seattle, Seattle, WA, 1953; Denver Art Museum, 1953.