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Native American Art

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Man and Woman in Canoe with Totemic Animals

ca. 1900
4 x 2 1/4 x 13 7/8 in. (10.2 x 5.7 x 35.2 cm)

Unknown, Haida
First Nations (Canada)

Object Type: Sculpture
Medium and Support: Argillite
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Nathaniel T. Whitcomb
Accession Number: 1983.17
Location: Currently on view
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Argillite, a fine-grained sedimentary rock sometimes called “black slate,” is mined in the Queen Charlotte Islands, the only mineable source in North America. These small and easily transportable sculptures were first made by the Haida in the early 19th century for trade with outsiders. Here the canoe is filled with a raven, a bear and two human paddlers. The animals are totemic figures, relating to matrilineal clans; the human figure with longer hair may be a shaman. These sculptures are still being made today in an array of figure groupings and materials.
[Gallery label text, 2009]

Provenance
Mrs. Nathaniel T. Whitcomb, Rochester, NY; her gift to the Gallery in 1983

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