Yagis (Sea monster) Mask, with crystal, by Tim Alfred
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Interesting piece by a well known master artist:
Yagis (Sea Monster) Mask
by Tim Alfred from the Kwakiulth First Nations on Vancouver Island, BC, born in Alert Bay.
Tim is well known for his traditional way of carving. Everything hand cut out and carved, you can clearly see the knife marks. Tim puts so much work into every piece. This yagis is decorated with the crystal on top of his forehead, the face is adorned with the traditional cedar bark, the mask itself is carved out of solid red cedar. The painting is fabulous, again, traditional colors used: red, green and black - fabulous expression!
Measurements: total: 12" x 10" x 5", face by itself: 8 1/2" x 6 1/2"
Meaning: The Yagis/Sea monster is a symbol for healing power and magic. It's closely associated with war and strength, also called Sisiutl its known to be invulnerable and to provide protection from harm. The head (sometime 3 heads) are surmounted by "horns of power" As a transformative creature of vast shamanic power, it could travel in and across all boundaries: land, water, & air. There is a belief among the Coast Salish that these creatures employ orca/killer whales for transportation. It is so powerful, that contact or even seeing one, was believed to cause sickness or death. According to legend, looking at the yagis/sisiutl can turn a person into stone. However, if one is killed, it has healing powers. Images or sculptures of Sisiutl were employed to guard canoes and cedar plank longhouses.Warriors traditionally wear the sisiutl's emblem for protection in battle. Thunderbirds are one of the few predators of Sisiutl