Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Bagwikala (human being neck ring)

Bagwikala (human being neck ring)

ca. 1910

Mungo Martin (Nakapankam)

Kwakwaka'wakw, Kwagu'l, Fort Rupert, British Columbia, ca. 1884-1962

Charlie James (Yakuglas)

Kwakwaka'wakw, ca. 1867 - 1938

Worn with the head hanging upside down over the back of the hamat’sa dancer, this unique neck ring would have been created with the specifications governed by a family tradition. Its human form may represent the moment when the humanity of the dancer prevails over the wild power that overcomes him as an initiate. The facial features can be compared to Martin’s Woman Giving Birth mask (on this platform).
Red cedar bark, yellow cedar, paint, human hair
68 x 12 x 6 in. (172.72 x 30.48 x 15.24 cm)
Gift of John H. Hauberg
Provenance: [The Northwest Passage Agency, Seattle, Washington], in 1977; John H. Hauberg, Seattle, Washington, 1977-1983; Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


For SAM’s My Favorite Things series in 2019, artist Jeffrey Gibson discusses Mungo Martin’s Bagwikala, used as dance regalia in the Kwakwaka'wakw Hamat’sa ceremony.


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Box of Daylight: Northwest Coast Indian Art, September 15, 1983–January 8, 1984
Published ReferencesThe Spirit Within: Northwest Coast Native Art from the John H. Hauberg Collection, Seattle Art Museum, 1995, pg. 220

Holm, Bill, Box of Daylight: Northwest Coast Indian Art, Seattle Art Museum, University of Washington Press, 1983, cat. no. 38

Hawthorn, Audrey, Art of the Kwakiutl Indians and Other Northest Tribes, University of British Columbia; University of Washington Press, 1967

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

Learn more about Equity at SAM