EXHIBITION:Splendor in Spring
Sisiyutl is a powerful, terrifying double-headed serpent that guards the house of the sky people. It can transform into a fish or a self-propelled canoe, and its glance can kill or turn an enemy to stone. Sisiyutl is also a spirit helper who is called upon to make warriors powerful and invulnerable. Warriors wear headbands and belts with the image of Sisiyutl. In the Winalagalis (War Spirit) ceremonies of the Kwakwaka’wakw, Sisiyutl is one of the warrior’s attendants, called forth by the Tuxw’id (female war dancer). After catching a Sisiyutl, a person must throw sand on it, not touch it directly, tie it securely and never have it in the house. Keeping it in water produces potent medicine; washing with the water brings health and longevity. Families that claim Sisiyutl as a crest may own parts of its body, which bestow great powers on the bearer. bits of glittery mica found on the shore are sometimes called Sisiyutl scales.
Sisiyutl is usually shown horizontally as a double-headed serpent, the heads at each end in profile displaying wolfish features, long tongues and a single curly horn-like appendage. The creature’s middle is usually a human-like face, with two curly horns. Among the Nuxalk, Sisiyutl is noted for its well-sculpted features and deep blue coloring.
This panel can be hung horizontally or vertically.