Pacific Northwest Coast, tag states carved by Emile Thibert (b. 1962 in Winnipeg Manitoba, First Nation artist of Saultreaux/Cree heritage), 1990s. A finely carved and hand-painted cedar mask depicting an anthropomorphic visage, perhaps that of a shaman, with a separately carved raven's head atop and separately carved wings emerging beside his eyes; the beak articulates as the lower section was carved separately and joined to the head via a leather panel beneath. Wonderful cedar bark shavings adorn the heads of both raven and man. All is painted in a vibrant palette of red, blue, green, black, and white. Size: 33" W x 18.75" H (83.8 cm x 47.6 cm); 25.75" H (65.4 cm) on included custom stand.
Emile Thibert is a carver of Saulteaux/Cree/French heritage who resides in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He learned the Kwakiutl carving tradition from Carl Simeon of Campbell River, British Columbia more than 22 years ago. His works are collected worldwide and may be found in the finest galleries of Native American art.
Masks like this example were traditionally used to represent spirits in theatrical rituals. They represent animals as well as creatures of the four regions of the cosmos: the Mortal World, the Sky World, the Undersea World, and the Spirit World. According to Bruce Grenville, curator of the Vancouver (British Columbia) Art Museum, in his introduction to Down from the Shimmering Sky: Masks of the Northwest Coast, "Masks are a manifestation of powerful ancestral spirits and are used to make the supernatural world visible." Traditionally, such masks were hidden away and guarded, and only shown during ceremonial dances.
Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection; ex private Vancouver, Canada collection
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Only slight surface wear and possible losses to ends of cedar bark pieces. Otherwise excellent. Handwritten on attached collector's label, "Mask by Emile Thibert / ex-private Vancouver collection / Vintage Pacific Northwest Coast Hand Carved Cedar Raven & Wildman"