Argillite compote (30cm high)
An argillite compote
This is a compote, made from
Several different animals are represented on the compote. Click on these words to see the animal highlighted:
- the lower bowl is carved in the shape of a beaver - its head and tail form the handles. The beaver's front and back
legs can be seen on either side.
- on the beaver's body, between its front and back legs, appears the face of another animal - possibly a bear
- carved on the rounded surface of the lid is a 2-dimensional design showing a wide-lipped animal with flippers and
a fluked tail - possibly a whale
- above this animal is a second beaver
- an ivory figure emerges from the lid holding on to the whale's fin.
This beautiful compote is attributed to master
xiigang (Charles Edenshaw) of Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte
Islands) on the Northwestern coast of North America.
By the end of the 1800s, Haida artists were carving argillite (slate) sculptures for sale to visiting sailors, fur merchants
and collectors (including those working for museums). This was one of the earliest forms of 'tourist art' on the Northwest Coast.
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