This talking stick by Haida artist Fred Davis is exquisite. It depicts the legend of Nanasimgit whose wife is captured by Killer Whale and taken to his house under the sea. Read the rest of the story, summarized by Douglas Reynolds Gallery. The material is hand carved arbutus and birch, with abalone inlay 58” at $36,000.00
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When our physical/emotional/etc needs are being met, wo/man has time for more detailed, intense art. Sounds right then and today. Very interesting information and beautiful artworks.
That is so true about when there’s time for art. Thanks.
One of the reasons NW coast indigenous art was so rich, so varied, is that these people, of several aboriginal nations, lived in permanent villages along the coast where the food was plentiful and available year-round. When the herring ran, they literally raked it in. Salmon was a staple in their diet. The forest had huckleberries, salmonberries, strawberries, blueberries as well as edible ferns and mushrooms. Not to suggest life was easy, and not to suggest that other indigenous peoples around the world don’t have just as rich artwork, but here, in the temperate rainforest, they had the time for specialists to develop their craft. The downside to the rainforest is that much of their art was made of cedar, and wood doesn’t last hundreds of years in a damp climate. You travel up the coast to old native villages and much of it has been absorbed back into the forest if the village was abandoned (due, often, to illnesses which European people brought to the coast and for which the locals had no inbuilt defenses).
Look up the work of BILL REID, for more great NW coast native art. This small gallery has some nice stuff.
Michael – Thanks so much for taking the time to give us that info. Great summary and really interesting facts about the relationship between art, climate and era. So appreciated and well done.