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Ritual mask of the Haida people

This Ritual Mask, used by the Haida people of north-west Canada, was collected in 1850 by Maidstone explorer Julius Brenchley.

This mask transforms the wearer from an eagle to a supernatural being by pulling an elaborate set of cords attached to hinged panels that extend to form a corona.

Julius Lucius Brenchley (1816-1873) was a traveller, writer and collector. In 1845 he began his travels with a tour of Europe. In 1849 he sailed to North America, spending several years there. In 1856 he travelled in South America and then in 1857 returned to North America. Between 1858 and his death in 1873 he travelled to Europe, Algeria, Morocco, Ceylon, China, Russia, Mongolia, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and throughout the Pacific Rim.

During his life, he was and avid collector and left to Maidstone Museum fine collections of art and natural history together with a large collection of North American objects and photographs.

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