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Treasures of the Tsimshian from the Dundas Collection

Royal BC Museum
Victoria BC – thru Jul 4, 2007

reasures of the Tsimshian from the Dundas Collection, Raven Mask
Treasures of the Tsimshian from the Dundas Collection, Raven Mask (mask with movable jaw and eyes) [Royal BC Museum, Victoria BC, through Jul 4]


The controversial Dundas Collection is a significant compilation of First Nations treasures. Reverend Robert J. Dundas first acquired it in 1863 at the village of Metlakatla, a Tsimshian First Nations settlement near what today is the site of Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Most of the objects belonged to Tsimshian grand chief Paul Legaic before he converted to Christianity and was required, by custom of the era, to give up objects connected to the "pagan" practices of traditional native spirituality. A selection of his former possessions is currently on display at the Royal BC Museum (RBCM) for the first time in more than a century.

Treasures of the Tsimshian from the Dundas Collection, Human Face Mask
Treasures of the Tsimshian from the Dundas Collection, Human Face Mask, portray spirit (naxnox) names that are presented in dramatizations of spiritual power, [Royal BC Museum, Victoria BC, through Jul 4]


Treasures of the Tsimshian consists of 40 artefacts auctioned by Sotheby’s in October 2006 to a group of eleven owners who included Federal heritage officials, museum curators and aboriginal leaders. The Sotheby's auction in New York took in a total of $7.03 million US, setting a record for the sale of native art. Pieces in the exhibition include two wooden face masks, a clan hat and two rare clubs made of carved antler.

Representatives from RBCM and the Museum of Northern BC worked closely with hereditary chiefs and elders of the Allied Tsimshian Tribes of Lax Kw' Alaams and Metlakatla to develop the exhibition. The chiefs asked that the travelling exhibit begin in Tsimshian territory, where these important cultural pieces originated and where their children and elders would be the first to see them. RBCM is managing the tour of Treasures of the Tsimshian with the support of lead sponsor Westerkirk Capital.

www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

Mia Johnson

 Wed, Jun 6, 2007