Kwakwaka'wakw model canoe with six human figures made for potlatch use, circa 1900. It has all the attributes of a tuxwid dance prop, i.e. a device which is magically and suddenly produced by a dancer (usually a woman) to demonstrate a supernatural power. The 'treasure' can take many forms; a cradle from which a puppet emerges; a mechanical frog; birds which fly through the air; a canoe filled with paddlers. Some such devices are illustrated and briefly described in Audrey Hawthorn's Kwakiutl Art, UBC Press, 1967.
Most of the devices described above are large enough to be seen in some detail by audience members who may be as much as sixty feet distant from the prop. This is the one rather unusual element of the canoe device in question- its rather small scale. The small size perhaps suggests that it might have been intended as a working model of a much larger dance device, intended for sale to a museum collector. On the other hand, one cannot discount the fact that it was used as a theatrical device
Size: 15 x 48 in