The Dzunuk'wa mask
'Hu! Hu!' she cries through pursed lips.
Giant of the Woods, strode through the forest crying out and terrifying the
disobedient children playing amongst the trees.
With a huge basket on her back, primed and ready for the naughty
children, she hunted them down to take them away to be eaten for her
dinner. But the children knew Dzunuk'wa
was very vain and clumsy, so they outwitted her attempts to kidnap them. They played games and made the giant dance in
circles so she would get tired and fall asleep, so the children escaped, taking
her supernatural powers with them.
This is just one of the many different stories of Dzunuk'wa
from the Kwakwaka'wakw people that have been re-told in important
and theatrical ceremonies. It is this
re-telling of stories and interpretation of characters that has such a strong
link with Shakespeare and theatre; the Dzunuk'wa mask transforms the
individual into the giant, as a costume transforms an actor.
From the Horniman Museum, London.