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Argillite Carving

Model Totem Pole

attributed to Tahayghen (Charles Edenshaw, 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: 17

Female Figure N4253

Female Figure

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
2nd Period (1835-65)
Inventory # N4253
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Model Totem Pole N3484

Model Totem Pole

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
late 19th century
Inventory # N3484
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Flute N4174

Flute

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Second period (1825-65)
Inventory # N4174
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Figural Group N4203

Figural Group

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Third Period (1865-1910)
Inventory # N4203
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Figural Group N4204

Figural Group

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Third Period (1865-1910)
Inventory # N4204
Sold

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