Komokwa's wife with sea lion by Janice Morin



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Have a look at this gorgeous mask by the Cree/Coast Salish artist Janice Morin

Janice calls it "Komokwa's wife and Sea Lion" - a really mesmerizing piece, showing the Komokwa's face, surrounded by the Sea lion. The eyes are inlaid with large pieces of Abalone which really gives it a stunning expression - powerful painting, the face is adorned with the traditional cedar bark and cedar rope, lots of it!!. The carving is deep, Janice always pays so much attention to details - have a close look at the imaged, although, they don't do it justice.

Measurements: Total height: approx. 43" (107 cm), the mask itself is 17" x 14" x 5" (43 x 36 x 13 cm)

Meaning: The Komokwa or Kumukwe is of major importance in Kwaguilth mythology. He was the king of the undersea world, master and protector of the seals who were a symbol of wealth. His name means "wealthy one" and he ruled from a great rich house under the water. The house contained great wealth in blankets, coppers and other treasures. Many humans of legendary history attempted to reach this kingdom. Those who achieved their goal became wealthy and powerful, returning to their home village with magical boxes full of treasure. The Komokwa is the master of the seals. The posts and beams of his house are living sea lions. Sometimes he appears on the surface of the sea, but his head is so big that it looks like an island. He is responsible for the rising and ebbing of the tides, as well as the riches these tides deposit on beaches, and those claimed by the vagaries of sea weather, both material and human lives. One terrific story recounts how he eats human eyes as if they were crab apples. Komokwa has the power to see into the future, heal the sick and injured, and bestow powers on those whom he favors.

Photos of This Piece

About This Artist

Janice Morin is a Cree, originating from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. She was born in 1957 and moved to Vancouver in British Columbia at the age of five. She has been living on the Northwest Coast since. Janice was introduced to Northwest Coast art...Artist bio and other available works »

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