Symbols of Art

The Ravens and Eagles owns and have a right to display certain crests.
A sample of the crests affiliated with the Ravens are:

Raven, Killer whale, Grizzly bear, Black bear, Hawk, Moon, Sea Wolf, Shark and Wolf.
A sample of crests affiliated with the Eagles are:

Eagle, Beaver, Sea Wolf, Hawk, Killer whale, Raven, Frog and Dragonfly.
Brief descriptions of the most commonly utilized crests:

Birds such as the “Raven” have a straight long beak which is easily distinguished from the “Eagle”, which have a short hooked beak. The “Bear” has round nostrils with an impressive display of pointed canines and usually is in a upright sitting position. The “Beaver” has two large front teeth and may have a stick in its mouth or claws and the tail is rounded with cross hatching detail. The “Wolf” is closely related to the Bear in appearance but the difference would be the body size and slender ears. The most distinguishing feature would be the curled tail with details at the tip. Killer Whales have a dorsal fin; a blowhole often located at the top of the animal and a dominant tail. This symbol is used more often than other symbols and is recognized by most people.

Fish take on their natural shape and can be easily identified. The “Dogfish” or “Shark” is depicted with many sharp teeth and two prominent nostrils, and has an overly large domed head. The legendary “Sea-grizzly”, “Sea-monster” or “Sea-wolf” has fins and fluked tail to navigate the ocean. These supernatural sea creatures also had the ability to move about on the land.

Acknowledgements: Argillite by Douglas Wilson, Potlatch by Steltzer, Islands at the Edge by the Islands Protection Society, Ninstints: Haida World Heritage Site by George McDonald, Bill Reid, Beyond the Essential form by Karen Duffek, Totem Poles by Hilary Stewart, Haida: Their Art and Culture by Leslie Drew.

Eagle Raven design by Norman Price

Eagle Raven button blanket

Categories: Art, Haida Culture

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you are going to a famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

  2. After my dad passed away in Spring of 2012, I asked that the blanket be placed on my dad before the burial. When I saw it I knew it belonged there with him, I miss him soo much.

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