House Posts (RBCM 14680, 14681)
This pair of house posts stood at the back of a partly constructed house in the village of Gwa'yasdams on Gilford Island. The house was begun in 1935 but was never finished because the owner, John Nelson, died in 1937. Herbert Johnson is said to have carved the posts. The top figure depicts a chief holding a Copper, a symbol of wealth. The image at the bottom represents Sisiyutł, a supernatural double-headed serpent. The house posts attest to the continuation of Kwakwaka’wakw artistic and cultural traditions during the period (1884–1951) when the potlatch and other Indigenous gatherings were illegal in Canada.
Both house posts were purchased by the museum in 1955. One of them (RBCM 14681) is in the First Peoples gallery; the other (RBCM 14680) is behind glass at the museum’s east entrance.
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