Carving a Tsimshian Red Cedar Mask

Mark Sixbey, Wolf Clan, carves a Tsimshian red cedar mask.

The Tsimshian people of Alaska and northern British Columbia are known for their artisanship.

Their masks are coveted on the international art scene, but in reality these objects hold great ceremonial value and their sale is often contested.

Here, stripped to its bare essentials, is the mask-making process according to Mark Sixbey, Wolf Clan, as he carves a block of red cedar in Metlakatla, Alaska.

“Always make sure to be aware of where your legs are,” he says, displaying his very modern knee protectors just before he has at the wood with his chisel.

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