This exquisite Haida Orca with Raven Fin is hand-carved in argillite by Haida artist Darrell White. The sculpture is embellished with seven abalone inlays, seven catlinite or pipestone inlays, 28 fossil ivory teeth, and a crafted crystal representing the light made of abalone and 14 karat gold in the Raven's beak.
Design elements on the body of the orca incorporate a sea-lion design on one side, and an octopus on the other. Two salmon-trout heads carved in catlinite feature on the whale's pectoral fins, while two human faces in catlinite are carved on the whale's tale. The front of the sculpture features a carved face with inlayed abalone eyes surrounding the blowhole. The graceful Raven holds the light aloft in his beak and displays delicate throat feathers.
Darrell is a master of creating miniature argillite sculptures and delights in unexpected details and intricate inlay. This exceptional work is richly embellished, incorporating gold, mammoth ivory, catlinite, and abalone into the argillite sculpture. This is a beautiful example of contemporary sculpture that captures the power, myth, and meaning of a Haida legend on a miniature scale.
The yew wood stand in the form of a cresting Haida wave has been specially made by Darrell White to display the sculpture. A steel and ivory pin holds the orca sculpture in place and allows it to rotate 360 degrees with ease.
The Orca with Raven Fin sculpture is inspired by the Haida legend of Raven-Fin and Noisy-Fin recorded in the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Haida texts, by John R. Swanton in 1908.
In the story, a talented carver and painter named Go'ttca who is left behind after a sea-lion hunting trip is able to carve two supernatural killer whales out of yew wood that come to life to help him when he throws them into the sea. The people of Go'ttca's village believed that he had perished but Go'ttca instructs Raven-Fin and Noisy-Fin to provide ten whales for Go'ttca's village during a time of hunger. Go'ttca then joined the Chief of the Undersea after instructing the people to take up residence in two chiefly houses, not just one. The story of Raven-Fin continues after his brother Noisy-Fin is killed by a monstrous Octopus or Devil-Fish that is killing many sea creatures and Haida people. Raven-Fin calls upon all the sharp-toothed creatures of the sea to destroy the Octopus that had killed his brother Noisy-Fin and brought havoc to the local people. --Swanton, 1908
The sculpture stands 8 1/2 inches high including the yew wood stand. Without the base it is about 6 1/4 inches high, 6 1/4 inches long, and 3 1/2 inches wide.