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Totem Poles of the Northwest

By: David Allen

Binding: Trade Paper
Size: 8.5" X 5.5"
Pages: 32
Price: $5.95



Mortuary poles were only erected as a chief's or shaman's grave post. They often held his body or ashes on the top. Rarely the Haida burial box was supported by two poles. In some areas horizontal and grave figures served as mortuary poles.
A. GRAVE FIGURE. Coast Salish.
C. CHIEF SKEDAN'S MORTUARY. Shown on the right, this replica is standing in Vancouver. It was originally erected in honor of Chief Skedans prior to 1850 at a cost of 290 blankets ($580.00). The crest figures, top to bottom, are: Moon, Mountain Goat, and out of sight below, Grizzly Bear, Killer Whale, and Human.


House poles, another form of memorial or heraldic pole, were of two kinds. House frontal poles had a hole cut into the front through which entrance was made to the house. Inside house posts were an integral part of the structure, supporting the large roof beams.

A. TSIMSHIAN HOUSE FRONTAL. From 'Ksan on Skeena River near Hazelton.
B. KWAKIUTL INSIDE HOUSE POST. From Knight Inlet, this was a corner post on an unfinished house.
C. TLINGIT HOUSE FRONTAL. This Alaskan house illustrates extreme in frontal design. Pole crest figures (top to bottom): Thunderbird, Bear, Frog, Crying Human, Killer Whale, and possibly two other variations of supernatural Human.


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