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Argillite Carving

Model Totem Pole

Charles Edenshaw (Tahayghen or Da.a xiigang, c. 1839-1920), Haida, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, ca. 1890-1910


Learn more about Haida Argillite Carving

Argillite, a form of dense shale, has been sourced for over 200 years from the only known quarry of its kind on Haida Gwaii, formerly Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia. The quarry, located on Slatechuck Mountain near the town of Skidegate, belongs to the Haida Nation and only those with Haida ancestry reserve the right to carve its stone. Research indicates that the Haida first began working with argillite in the 1820’s. Appropriating the iconography and distinctive Northwest Coast design systems of earlier artistic traditions in wood, argillite carving quickly became a popular medium for works as varied as pipes, model totem poles, plates, boxes and figural sculptures. Pioneering new forms of artistic expression, these works combine references to cosmology, intellectual thought and beliefs; and continue the evolution of centuries-old formal organising principles without entirely replicating them. Some feature innovative interpretations of early modernity. Made specifically for sale to Euro-American sailors and coastal traders, argillite carving included depictions of sea captains, European sailing ships and diverse motifs borrowed from Russian, American and European decorative art. (Wardwell 1978, pg. 96) Some of the earliest argillite carvings are in the form of pipes, although they were never intended to be used to smoke tobacco. Early examples display both traditional Haida motifs and more contemporary 19th century subjects such as European sailing ships and their crews, and are often considered the first form of tourist art on the Northwest Coast. Haida argillite carving of the nineteenth century thus embodies the artists’ ability to absorb ‘cross-cultural influences in a period when Indigenous people succeeded in keeping their cultures viable, modernizing them while also resisting efforts to eliminate them’ (Wright 2013, pg. 170).


Status: All
Category: Argillite Carving

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Results: 11

Model Totem Pole N4194

Model Totem Pole

Charles Edenshaw (Tahayghen or Da.a xiigang, c. 1839-1920)
Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
ca. 1890-1910
Inventory # N4194
Model Totem Pole N4157

Model Totem Pole

Charles Edenshaw (Tahayghen or Da.a xiigang, c. 1839-1920)
Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
late 19th century
Inventory # N4157
Plate N3662

Plate

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Second Period (ca. 1830–1865)
Inventory # N3662
Figural Group N4203

Figural Group

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Third Period (1865-1910)
Inventory # N4203
Chest N3664

Chest

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Third Period (ca. 1865–1910)
Inventory # N3664
Figural Group N4204

Figural Group

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Third Period (1865-1910)
Inventory # N4204
Model Totem Pole N3999

Model Totem Pole

Charles Edenshaw (Tahayghen or Da.a xiigang, c. 1839-1920)
Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
late 19th century
Inventory # N3999
Sold
Model Totem Pole N3638

Model Totem Pole

Charles Edenshaw (Tahayghen or Da.a xiigang, c. 1839-1920)
Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
early 20th century
Inventory # N3638
Sold
Female Figure N4253

Female Figure

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

2nd Period (1835-65)
Inventory # N4253
Sold
Model Totem Pole N3484

Model Totem Pole

Haida
Queen Charlotte Islands, BC

late 19th century
Inventory # N3484
Sold

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