Danced Fools / Nulamala Mask

Danced Fools / Nulamala Mask

Note: Pieces on this website are in Canadian Dollars

Beautiful find! This is a very special piece! Authentic, originating from the Campbell River area, unsigned (as is custome for these pieces).

FOOLS Mask - or Nulamala Dancer

It's truly a remarkable piece. The carving is superb, excellent craftsmanship, beautiful wood from the red cedar tree and the expression, just as it's suppose to be. Vibrant and rich colors, the fur that covers the head just only adds to it. In the inside, it's still covered with foam, left-over from when it was danced. Another clear indicator that the mask has been danced are the holes close to the nose which make it easy to see while jumping on, chasing and attacking people. 

Measurements: 11" x 10" x 9", total hight incl. fur is 22" (28 x 26 x 23 cm / 56 cm high incl. fur)

The Nułamała “Fool Dancer” are messengers and assistants to the Hamat̕sa and help enforce the laws of the Winter Ceremonies. Membership in the Nułamała Society is hereditary. The Nułamała along with the Grizzly Bear dancers cut and distribute food to make sure that the Hamat̕sa are fed properly. Both societies are the “policemen of the T̕seka Winter Ceremonies”. The Nułamała will attack people by throwing stones, hitting with sticks and even stabbing and killing with lances and war axes.

According to the Kwagu’ł “Fort Rupert Tribe”: Nułamała dancers are initiated by a supernatural people who are called Atłasamx that live on an island floating on a lake inland from Dłaxsiwa’yi. They have enormous noses and their bodies are filthy. The Nułamała when he performs does not dance, but when excited, runs about like madman, throwing stones, knocking people down and making his cry, which is “Wi! Wi! Wi!”. They turn right instead of left and make their circuit around the fire in the opposite direction of other Winter Ceremonies. 

The distinguishing feature of most Nułamała masks is an exaggerated nose. They usually have long eyebrows that slant upwards towards the center and droop down to the sides. They have wide mouths that display a foolish grin. Nułamała dancers are very sensitive about their noses and if someone touches or plays with their nose in front of them, they will become very excited and might chase that person in anger for impersonating their habits. In Potlatch ceremonies today, the Nułamała wears a mask and may use a grey blanket that conceals a pocket that hides pieces of green seaweed which is thrown at the guests and sometimes wiped on certain people. The Nułamała is an ancient dance and is one of the first Winter Ceremonies that the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw had ever performed. 

approx. $1,580 USD (please contact me if you prefer to pay in USD)

Photos of This Piece

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