Oakwood Auctions

Lot 781

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Description: Thomas Bruce's "Frog" original wooden carved mask. Carved in 2014. This mask is green and black, and carved from yellow cedar. Was valued between $4,800 - $5,500 in 2016. This mask is in excellent condition.

The Frog is depcited in masks, bowls, and most frequently as a treasure of the tuxw'id dancer in the form of a puppet.
The frog in the Kwakwaka'wakw mythology- "The Frog is associated with coppers in various myth contexts. When the frog looked down into the water and saw the wealthy house of Komokwa and his wife, he was given the privelege of cutting the copper." She also has the power to create great things, super-natural frogs give birth to coppers to bestow on certain ancestors.
And she is a part of the 'Undersea World'. "Komokwa is the King or the Guardian of this Undersea World, and copper maker. Are associated with him in the winter ceremonial and Klasila times are loons, killer whales, sculpins, and frogs, all of which have an affinity with copper and treasure." That's why the frog is highly respected, due to its supernatural abilities, and because she is dangerous: her tongue is black because she can cause death.

The Frog in the myths- This myth has been recorded by George Hunt, between the years 1895 and 1900, for Franz Boas. It's about hte tradition of the Le'kwildax, clan Wigawam (True-Frog-Tribe), and is called "Wao'xuts!axsemalaga", or "The Frog Women". The ancestors of the clan True-Frog-Tribe lived at Xusa'm. One day, the young From-Women assembled to go digging clover-roots on the other side of the village built on the river of Xusa'm. Then they went aboard an old canoe, and went across together. They went to an island on each side of which was the river, and dug clover-roots. It was not long before the young women heard a man shouting on the other side of one of the rivers. He said, "Come fetch me!" The man did not speak lous when he said this. Then one of the Frog-Women asked him, "Who are you?" The man said, "I am Raccoon". Then the Frog-Women spoke again, "Who is Raccoon?" and the Raccoon-man spoke again and said, "I am Raccoon-made-to-Go-Up". The women said at once, "oh, you are ugly! You have small eyes, long nose, long tail. We don't want to have you for a sweetheart. Go away!" Thus said the Frog-Women to Raccoon, and he went back at once into the woods.
Then the women dug again for clover-roots. And the same things happened: she heard someone shoutng. It was the Mink, the Sun-Maker, and she told him the same things: "Oh, go away!" Then Mink went away into the woods. But when Marten came, they at once went to fetch him, and the women made love to him. And the women heard another voice. It was Beaver. He wpoke to the Frog-Women, but they laughed and said "What do you say, you big-belly, short legs, ugly-face, small eyes".
As soon as the women stopped abusing him, Beaver said, "This is yours, this is yours, this is yours! Pour down, flood! Rain, pour down!" Then he struck his tail on the water; and the women said, "Oh we have our old skin blankets here!" then it begain to rain hard, and the rainfall was really great. Then the river of Xusa'm over-flowed, and all the Frog-Women died; and therefore there are no frogs at Xus'am.

The Frog in the Potlatch- One part of the T'seka dances is the Tuxw'id, given by Winalagalis, "a supernatural figure who travels far and wide during the summer and returns to live around the villages of the Kwakwaka'wakw during the time of the Winter Ceremonial. This is the dance of an unconquerable spirit with the power over the Sisiutl. It is done by a woman wearing hemlock. While she is dancing, she produces a dlugwe (treasure). Depending upon the rights of her family, the Tuxw'id may have a frog, sisutl, thunder and lightning, etc.
For the dlugwe, the Kwakwaka'wake used to do a puppet, a frog pupper for instance. "Originally, the frog figure was made so that it could crawl along the floor. Its legs were joined by with wires to move in tandem, the oversized frog's progress eased by the wooden roller attached beneath it. This wooden creature was worked like a marionette and functioned as an example of the many wonders that seemed to be animated at the command of the tuxw'id. Most women who claim this dance privilege, however, simply say that they have "given birth" to the frog.

  • Dimensions:
    10" x 8" x 7"
  • Artist Name: Thomas Bruce
  • Medium: Wood

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August 16, 2020 11:00 AM EDT

Stouffville, ON, CA

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