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Superbowl wager includes B.C. First Nation mask

01/28/2014 11:08 EST | Updated 03/30/2014 05:59 EDT
A Superbowl wager between two art museums in Seattle and Denver has the art world abuzz, but it turns out there is a B.C. First Nations connection in the deal.

When the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos this Sunday, the Seattle Art Museum and the Denver Art Museum have each bet a major work of art on the outcome of the game.  

The winner will get to display the other city's piece for several months.

But it's what the Seattle Art Museum has chosen to wager that is attracting attention north of the border: a forehead mask from the Nuxalk First Nation, which located on B.C.'s Central Coast.

The museum's director says it a good representation of the West Coast First Nations style that inspired the team's logo.

"We know that the Seahawks logo is based loosely on Northwest Coast Native American design," director Kim Rorschach told Seattle broadcaster KPLU.

"It just seemed natural to choose one of our great works that is of a bird and reminiscent of that logo," said Rorschach.

The museum says the forehead mask is from about 1880. It is made from alder, red cedar bark, copper, pins and paint and was a gift from John H. Hauberg, the grandson of the founder of Weyerhaeuser forestry company.

The Denver Art Museum is wagering a bronze cast of a broncho buster from 1895, as a tribute to their team's logo.

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