180816-060 KOMOKWA MASK by Ozzie Matilpi, Kwakiutl -- Late 20th century -- Kwakiutl
Kumugwe’ is “Chief of the Undersea World and is the most powerful force in the sea. His name means “Wealthy One,” and he rules over all the beings in his realm: fish, sea mammals, etc. The Killer Whale serves as his attendant and messenger.
The Kumugwe’s house on the sea floor is made of copper, with live sea lions forming the house posts and rafters. Great treasure is contained within this house, and anyone lucky enough to gain his benevolence will acquire wealth and prestige.
Copper is an element that is always associated with Kumugwe’, who is sometimes referred to as “Copper Maker.”