Lot # 190
Spring 2012 - 2nd Session Live auction

Unidentified Northwest Coast Artist
20th Century Canadian Indigenous

Northwest Coast Totem
carved and painted wood with abalone inserts circa 1910
77 x 10 x 11 1/4 in  195.6 x 25.4 x 28.6cm

Provenance:
Private Collection, Toronto

Literature:
Michael D. Hall and Pat Glascock, Carvings and Commerce, Model Totem Poles 1880 - 2010, Mendel Art Gallery, 2011, essay by Aaron Glass and Aldona Jonaitis, page 13

The totem pole is synonymous with the Northwest Coast First Nations people. Unlike the monumental poles, the model totem was primarily generated by economics. Aaron Glass and Aldona Jonaitis comment, “First Nations carve totem poles to memorialize deceased nobility; tourists purchase miniature souvenirs to commemorate their personal adventures; and scientists collect models in order to immortalize entire cultures, especially those which are expected to imminently vanish from the scene. Thus in their very (and varied) materiality, model totem poles both reflect and encode diverse aspects of intercultural encounter during their production, circulation and consumption, and as such they provide valuable evidence for the ever shifting aesthetic, commercial and political relations between First Nations and settler societies.” Events prior to the turn of the century, including the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 1880s, the opening of trade routes, cruise ships and world fairs, led to increased tourism on the Northwest Coast and curiosity about native objects. The model pole evolved as a tradeable and transportable commodity that was both in high demand and an important symbol of First Nations culture.
This totem is affixed to a base that measures 12 1/4 x 16 1/2 x 2 3/4 inches. The wooden disc in the mouth of the raven is detachable.

Estimate: $20,000 ~ $30,000 CAD  
Sold for: $21,060 CAD (including Buyer's Premium)

All prices are in Canadian Dollars.

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