Arctic clothing, £25.00
Height: 85.000 cm
Africa, Oceania, Americas
Painted wood model of the Bear or Goose House
Haida, AD 1890s
From Kayang, British Columbia, North America
This model was carved for The British Museum in the 1890s by John Gwaytihl (about 1820-1912). The actual house had been abandoned twenty to forty years earlier, after a decline in the population due to epidemics of disease introduced by Europeans.
Such a house was
both a practical dwelling and the spiritual centre for the lineage.
This house is the ancestral home of a lineage of the Eagle
Such poles are misleadingly called 'totem' poles, even though they have nothing to do with totems, the guardian spirits from the natural world, obtained by individuals during spirit quests in the Algonquian-speaking north-east of the continent.
This pole recounts the story of a hunter who brought in a whale, after complaints from his mother-in-law about his abilities. This scene is shown in the middle of the pole. The British Museum later purchased the original pole from Chief Wiyah of Mussett. It now stands on the East Staircase.
J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)