Kwe Kwe (Earthquake) Mask by Chief Calvin Hunt

Kwe Kwe (Earthquake) Mask by Chief Calvin Hunt

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What a treat..... Very special piece of true Indigenous art

Ceremonial Xwi Xwi (Earthquake) Dance Mask by master artist Calvin Hunt - Calvin is Chief Tłasutiwalis, Kwakwaka'wakw, and Hereditary Chief Nas’a̱m’yus, Mowachaht. 

He is a highly respected Northwest Coast artist, teacher, and inductee into the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 2009, he was also honored with the BC Creative Achievement Award for Aboriginal Art. He started to carve when he was 12 years old and is an important member of the internationally renowned Mungo Martin / Hunt Family of Master Carvers. Please take the time and read his biography provided below.

The Kwakwaka’wakw variant of the Kwe Kwe (Xwi Xwi) arose from the Sxwaixwe, a sacred Coast Salish mask, which was transferred to some Kwakwaka’wakw and Nootka (Nuu-chah-nulth) families through marriage. The dance of this mask is associated with earthquakes and is believed to bring the Hamatsa. It’s a very important mask, represented and danced in Ceremony. Though the Salish have many spirit dances and songs, the Sxwaixwe is their only dance mask. Imbued with great supernatural powers, this underwater being was associated with healing and rumbling earthquakes. The Sxwaixwe mask had large peg eyes, no lower mandible, and bird heads for a nose and above its forehead. The dancer carried a large scallop shell rattle.

Nearly 150 years ago, the Kwakwaka’wakw acquired the rights to the mask from the K’ómoks people as part of a marriage dowry. They modified the unique Salish mask to create their own special version of the XwiXwi.

"Our versions of the mask are quite a bit different from the Salish, but it has some of the influences of the Sxwaixwe. On my mask, the red sticks on the side of the mask and the surrounding feathers were inspired by the typical Sxwaixwe form. The wool is similar to the dog wool that was used on those masks and in making Salish ceremonial blankets and tunics. Those dogs are extinct now, so I’ve used commercial wool to reflect the Salish history behind the XwiXwi." —Calvin Hunt

Calvin used red cedar, carved the mask, paying great attention to details, adding copper to the eyebrows, superb craftsmanship and extremely clean painting and sanding. The expression is so powerful. The mask shows protruding eyes and tongue.

Measurements incl. feathers: 27” wide, 20” high, 7” deep

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Each piece we show is the original and is the piece you’ll receive!

We do not offer “similar or different than image shown”, copies, reproductions, mass-produced, machine made or so called native-inspired/native-style knock-off pieces.

Note: Invoice in CAD, overseas shipping not available, USD amounts based on average weekly exchange rate, shipping within one business day.

Photos of This Piece

$5,590.00 CDN

$4,148.90 USD

About This Artist

Calvin Hunt, (1956): Chief Tlasutiwalis, Kwaku'l, Fort Rupert and Hereditary Chief Nasnamus, Mowochaht, Friendly Cove is the youngest son of Kwagu’l Hereditary Chief Thomas Hunt, and Emma, the daughter of a great Mowochaht Chief and...Artist bio and other available works »

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