Ridicule Figure

$6,633.00 USD

This Ridicule Figure or Pole is carved in red cedar and stands about 6 feet tall. It is painted in black acrylic by Kwagu’ł artist Calvin Hunt and Kwagu’ł artist Mervyn Child.

This massive Kwakwaka’wakw female figure has a dual cultural reference with quite opposite interpretations. The first is a historical reference to a practice among many Northwest Coast First Nations. Ridicule Poles or large Shaming Figures were intended to publicly belittle a rival Chief if a social obligation was not fulfilled or a misdeed not corrected. Commissioning or carving a figure or pole expressly for this purpose was a serious and expensive proposition—not undertaken frivolously—and it usually produced the desired results. The Tlingit in Alaska have had centuries-long tradition of ridicule poles depicting European and American statesmen and Presidents who have violated treaties and traditions. Their tradition continues to the present day.

Historically, the Kwakwaka’wakw tradition of ridicule poles and figures has been much different. In some cases, ridicule poles were altered once the offense was corrected, as in the famous Dzunuḵ̓wa figure erected in Gwa’yasdam’s village on Gilford Island prior to 1914. For 3 years, the figure faced down the beach toward the owner’s in-laws, who had not paid a marriage debt. When the in-laws honoured the debt, the pole was painted red and pivoted to face the water. Thus, the pole was transformed into a statement about the family treasures, as coppers, symbols of great wealth, were attached to her head and hands.

Calvin says, This kind of shaming is not something that’s done anymore. It’s the same thing as breaking coppers—they decided that enough’s enough and it was causing too much fighting within families. I think it’s a good thing, but at the same time, it was part of our history and our culture.

The second aspect of this dramatic figure is revealed in the painted designs on her body that represent timeless Kwakwaka’wakw treasures. A shaming figure would not be painted in this manner, Calvin noted. These graphic elements celebrate the continuing tradition of respect and honour for all Kwakwakaʼwakw women who are the Chief-Makers.

This Ridicule Figure is carved in red cedar and the designs are painted in black acrylic. This free-standing figure is over 72 inches (182 cm) tall, including the stand. It is about 35 inches (85 cm) wide and 18½ inches (47 cm) in depth. The Figure is mounted in a solid, hand-adzed black stand that can be detached.


This price does not include shipping. Please contact us concerning the extra cost of packaging and shipping. 

Unless otherwise indicated above, the price for this item includes shipping to Canada and the continental USA. Please email us at info@spiritsofthewestcoast.com for a quote to have the item shipped outside continental North America.

Shipping Information

We ship internationally!

Free shipping to the USA and Canada.

The Shipping times mentioned below are estimates for orders that we have in our inventory and are not guaranteed . Shipping to the USA or other international locations may be delayed due to national customs organizations, especially now due to the COVID-19 impact. These delays are not included in the shipping estimates mentioned and are out of our control.

If you have a specific shipping / delivery deadline, please call or email us, to make sure we have the item that you would like to order in stock.

Custom orders or orders for items that we don’t have in our inventory, or don’t have the exact size in stock, will take longer. It usually takes 2 – 4 weeks depending on the individual item and artist, to have individual items carved. Custom orders may take somewhat longer.

International Shipping - items may be subject to customs processing depending on the item's declared value.

Sellers set the item's declared value and must comply with customs declaration laws.

As the buyer, you should be aware of possible:

- delays from customs inspection.

- import duties and taxes which buyers must pay.

- brokerage fees payable at the point of delivery.

Your country's customs office can offer more details.

Regular Shipping:

We usually use Canada Post services without tracking information for our regular shipping option. The delivery standards for surface/air shipping are usually 2 - 9 business days (Canada), 5 - 12 business days (USA), 6 - 35 business days (Europe) and 6-35 business days to the other continents. If your shipping address is remote, delivery times may increase. These delivery standards are estimates and are not guaranteed.

Canada Post International Parcel Surface or Priority Worldwide Express Shipments:

If you would like to find a faster priority / express shipping service, than the ones mentioned in the shopping cart, or if shipping times are less important than the cost, please contact us for a custom shipping quote. Delivery dates mentioned below are approximations that do not include delays due to International Customs or unforeseen circumstances. The delivery standards for Priority™ Worldwide( Usually through FedEx ) are usually 2-3 business days (USA), 3-5 business days (Europe) and 4-6 business days to the other continents. The delivery standards for International Parcel Surface can be up to 7 weeks. If your shipping address is remote, delivery times may increase. These delivery standards are estimates and are not guaranteed.

Canada Post shipping services with tracking numbers can be tracked at the following website: http://www.canadapost.ca/cpotools/apps/track/personal/findByTrackNumber?execution=e1s1


Return/Refund Policy

Returns / Cancellation of Custom Orders

If for some reason you are not 100 percent satisfied with the piece of art received, please contact us before you return it. We offer you the opportunity to return it, if you inform us within the first five days after delivery, that you would like to return it. 

This offer is under the condition that it is not a custom order, it was not worn, it is in the same condition it was originally shipped and we are informed about the return, before it is shipped back. We will send you a return confirmation.

Custom orders or personalized artwork (with personal message/engraving) are not returnable. Down payments for custom orders are also not refundable, if the artwork has been started.

If you return the item / items from outside of Canada, make sure you specify on the description for customs that it is a return, as well as that the item is made in Canada.

After receiving the returned piece of art, we will refund the full purchase price minus the actual shipping costs and any customs and/or brokerage fees we were charged. Customs and brokerage fees can usually be evaded if you return your purchase with your national postal service. Using FedEx, UPS or any other private shipping company will often lead to customs and/or brokerage fees.

We do accept that for Christmas gifts bought in November and December, the delivery date for our return policy will be December 25th, instead of the actual date your order is delivered. Please contact us on or before December 30th, if you would like to return or exchange your purchase.

To be eligible for a return, your item must be unused and in the same condition that you received it. It must also be in the original packaging.

To complete your return, we require a receipt or proof of purchase.

Refunds (if applicable)

Once your return is received and inspected, we will send you an email to notify you that we have received your returned item. If everything is ok, we will also notify you of your refund.

If you are approved, then your refund will be processed, and a credit will automatically be applied to your credit card or original method of payment, within a certain amount of days.

Late or missing refunds (if applicable)

If you haven’t received a refund yet, first check your bank account again.
Then contact your credit card company, it may take some time before your refund is officially posted.

Next contact your bank. There is often some processing time before a refund is posted.

If you’ve done all of this and you still have not received your refund yet, please contact us at info@spiritsofthewestcoast.com.

Exchanges (if applicable)

We only replace items if they are defective or damaged at delivery. If you need to exchange it for the same item, send us an email at info@spiritsofthewestcoast.com and send your item to:

Spirits of the West Coast Art Gallery, 2926 Back Road, Courtenay, British Columbia, V9N 9G9, Canada. 


To return your product, you should mail your product to:

Spirits of the West Coast Art Gallery, 2926 Back Road, Courtenay, British Columbia, V9N9G9, Canada

You will be responsible for paying for your own shipping costs for returning your item. Shipping costs are non-refundable. If you receive a refund, the original cost of shipping it to you will be deducted from your refund.

Always use a trackable shipping service and purchase shipping insurance.

If you return the item / items from outside of Canada, make sure you specify on the description for customs that it is a return, as well as that the item is made in Canada.

We can't guarantee that we will receive your returned item.