(1918-1990). This very large 9'2" x 6'3" totem pole is a Tsimshian interpretation by George Mather Sr. of one of the famous Thunderbird Totems of Alert Bay, BC, originally carved by Charlie James. It depicts the Thunderbird with characteristically spread wings above a bear holding a human slave. The original thunderbird totem poles may be the most often replicated poles on the entire coast. George Mather Sr. was a member of the famous Mather family of Tsimshian artists from New Metlakatla, Alaska. His ancestors traveled from Old Metlakatla, BC in 1887 to settle a new town in Alaska with Anglican lay minister William Duncan. Mather was a prolific artists based in Ketchikan who produced art, particularly model poles, for most of the 20th Century. 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.
PERIOD: Circa 1940s
SIZE: 9'2" x 6'3"