Dzunuḵ̓wa - Wild Woman Mask
By Thomas Bruce
Carved by Thomas Bruce
8.5"h x 6"w. x 4"d. (23"h. with hair)
The Dzunuḵ̓wa in Kwakwa̱ka̱'wakw Mythology
The Dzunu’kwa is a people who dwell inland or live on mountain. Her house is far in the woods. (…) Generally the Dzunuk’wa who appears in the tales is a female. She is so strong that she can tear down large trees, and her voice is so loud that it makes the roof boards shake. She carries away children in her arms to her house inland, or she puts them into a basket, which she carries on her back. When enticing away children from a house, she assumes the voices of their grandmothers. She is a cannibal and roasts the children whom she steals.
She is represented as building a canoe in the woods, and her infant which never cries stands in a cradle next to her. When she is surprised and her child is pinched so that it cries, she gives supernatural gifts to her visitor. She controls the water of life and can bring back the dead by sprinkling this magic liquid on them.
With all her strength, the Dzunuk’wa is stupid. She admires the eyebrows of a girl whom she has captured, and is induced to submit to having her eyebrows cut. When thus in the power of the warrior she is killed.
About the Artist Thomas Bruce
Kwakwaka’wakw artist Thomas was born in 1980 and is a member of the ‘Namgis Band. Thomas is a talented young artist creating traditional Kwakwaka’wakw artwork. Although he hasn’t been carving long, Thomas began carving under the direction of Wayne Alfred, his grasp of the fundamentals of carving are evident in the caliber of his work.