Gusgimukw potlatch figure

unknown, but before 1913
RBCM 654

This carved cedar figure is shown wielding an axe. According the collection notes of Charles F. Newcombe, who purchased it at Xwatis (Quatsino) village in 1913, it is called sayupala (Ready to Chop) and was used ceremonially at potlatches to simulate the splitting of Coppers or canoes (both objects of great value) before they were actually broken with real tools. This was done to demonstrate the greatness of the chief who could afford to destroy such valuable property. The right to use this figure is a privilege of the Tsetseya lineage, to whom it belonged.

This object selected by Dr Martha Black.