This charming Mother Bear Pole has been carved in argillite by an unknown Haida carver, probably from the early 20th century. The pole is not signed, just like most pieces from that era. The pole is composed of three main figures with a bear cub at the top of the pole, a larger bear beneath, and another bear at the bottom.
The Bear Mother story is a legend shared by many people on the Northwest Coast, most notably the Haida, Nisga’a, Gitxsan, and Coast Tsimshian. It tells the story of a woman who disrespected the bears when she was out berry picking, who was subsequently kidnapped and forced to marry the son of a bear chief. She gives birth to twin bear cubs who inherit a mix of human and bear features. The story emphasizes the importance of honouring and respecting animals, and deals with the subject of transformation and travel between the human and non-human world. -- The Bill Reid Centre, Simon Fraser University
Find more information about and examples of The Bear Northwest Coast First Nations symbol.
This small pole stands a little over four inches or 10 cm tall, nearly one inch or 2.5 cm wide, and about one inch or 2.5 cm deep. This pole is in very good condition.
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