The scientific tourist #320 — Yak’ant’akw

On display at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology, it’s a Yak’ant’akw (Speaking-through post):

Yak'ant'akw (Speaking-through post)

From the placard:

A carved figure such as this one, with its prominent, open mouth, was used during winter ceremonies inside the Bighouse.

A person who held the privilege of speaking on behalf of the hosts would conceal himself behind the figure, projecting his voice forward.  It was as though the ancestor himself was calling to the assembled guests.

This Yak’ant’akw was originally found in Blunden Harbour, British Columbia, and was made of red cedar somewhere around 1860.

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