Traditional hand carved and painted cedar totem; 9'2" x 6'3". Repainted after 1950. For inside or outside. Totems are both important from a historical standpoint and also a fascinating art form. They are the only art form completely unique to North America. Early civilizations along the Pacific Coast from Washington to Alaska did not have a concept of reading or writing but they did have powerful symbols that were commonly understood. Artists used symbols to communicate the events, beliefs and accomplishments that made his family special.
This totem has three figures read from the bottom up: the lower figure is called Tsnoqua informing strangers that there was a powerful medicine man in the family. Next, the bear mother - this family valued the raising of children above all else. The bear mother defends her children ferociously against enemies. The top figure, most common on totems, is the Kolus (thunderbird). This tells the world the family has high ideals. He is the messenger to the Gods and signifies the family has been protected from danger.
This totem we acquired from an estate in Seattle, WA however probably originated in British Columbia along the coast.
PERIOD: First quarter 20th century
SIZE: 9'2" x 6'3"