The salmon is one of the creatures that unites all the tribes --so it feels right that this piece of art also greets Museum visitors. Yep, it was raining. Many of what we think of as totem poles are actually door posts to the various tribesmen's homes. Most are very very old, and have lost some of the bright paint that once adorned them. Another example of new technology and old pieces: infrared photography has allowed anthropologists to see inside the wood and discover the original paint colors.The door posts are carved with the personal crests, some human faces, and other elements that may be important to the inhabitants. It takes someone really into the art to decipher all of it -- but even without knowing exactly what you are looking at, it is very moving. The Museum has a Great Hall with huge old pieces and it's quite awesome.
This bear is very special. He was carved by Bill Reid, whom I mentioned in an earlier post, as an example of art from the Haida tribes, which he did a lot to revive in the 80s and 90s. Several years ago, before a seaport convention here in Vancouver, I won a plush version of this bear. He looks a bit less fierce as a stuffie, sitting on the bed in our guestroom.