Alan Kessler Gallery

Kwakwaka'wakw "Cannibal Woman" Cedar Mask by Ellen Neel

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Americas: American Indian: Sculpture: Pre 1900: Item # 726087

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Alan Kessler Gallery
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A cedar mask by Ellen Neel of the Kwakwaka'wakw tribe of northern Vancouver Island, B.C. A mask known as Geekumhl, representing Dzunuḵ̓wa (aka Tsonoqua; Tsonokwa) - the "Cannibal Woman", a figure in Kwakwaka'wakw mythology. Masks with her representation are worn at potlatch gatherings, and her figure is the most important presence during the Winter Ceremonies (Tsetsequ or Tseka). Brief Bio of the artist, Ellen Neel: Born November 14, 1916 in Alert Bay, British Columbia; Died 1966. Kwakwaka'wakw tribe. She learned carving from her grandfather, Charlie James (stepfather of famed sculptor Mungo Martin). Ellen began selling her carvings by age 12 through the motivation of her grandfather, as well as her own efforts. Married Ted Neel in 1939. Living in Vancouver, Ellen worked at her carvings while Ted handled the business side of promoting and selling her work. DIMENSIONS: 9 1/4" high x 7" wide.