Northwest Coast Carving

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Description

At some stage in its history, this top-heavy carved figure fell forward and snapped its arms.

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At some stage in its history, this top-heavy carved figure fell forward and snapped its arms. They were subsequently replaced. Unfortunately, the original position of the arms would have indicated the purpose of the figure. Had the arms been held outstretched, for instance, this figure may have welcomed strangers to a village. The painted garments it wears could have been added later to increase its exoticism as a souvenir for passing collectors. Although originally multi-coloured, many carvings of this type were also covered in a uniform dark wash before their commercial sale.

'The long, curved line of the brow and cheeks typical of Tsimshian style, which, along with the strong, open mouth and inlaid shell teeth, and the staring eyes, express the shaman’s ability to communicate with the spirit world on behalf of their community. The skin seems tightly stretched over the face, giving it an aspect of concentrated energy and power.' Evan M. Maurer, Director Emeritus, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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Dated

From 1800 to 1899

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