This large Bear Mother Argillite Totem Pole by the Haida carver Henry White measures 24 inches including the base, up to 9 1/2 inches wide and 13 inches deep. The pole is signed and dated by the artist.
The pole illustrates the story of Bear Mother and also incorporates crests and legends from Henry White's Yahgu’laanaas of Daadans Raven Clan. Two bear cubs sit beneath Bear Mother and her long, protruding tongue at the bottom. Above her is another bear flanked on either side by beaver copper plaques. Frog sits beneath Volcano Woman crying tears of lava above. A human holding or eating a salmon sits above Volcano Woman. Dogfish or Dogfish Woman with a small human face at the front crowns the work with a sleek caudal fin and a three-potlatch-ringed cedar hat. Dogfish is an important crest and mythic being among the Haida.
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
This piece was completed in 1990 and is one of Henry White's largest works in argillite. As argillite has to be hand-cut and backpacked down a mountain from the Slatechuck quarry on Haida Gwaii, this pole standing at 24 inches is one of the most monumental model argillite poles that Henry White carved. The pole is in very good condition.
The price includes shipping to the USA and Canada.