Gitxsan/Tlingit antler miniature totem, showing Bear eating Halibut
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Here is a very interesting find – I really love the quality of this piece.
Old Tsimshian, possibly Tlingit or Gitxkan Totem, showing BEAR eating Halibut. Hand carved from Moose or Elk antler, most likely elk, the marrow part of antler.
Please have a look at the fine detail in the body, showing the northern and coastal style. It is signed underneath with the initials „LAI“ but I just don’t know who the artist is
I have talked to my friend from the Gitxkan Nation about this little Gem (thanks a lot!!)
He told me it’s probably from a member of the bear house clan, maybe Liard River area. This area encompasses Northern BC and Alberta, from Prince George to Jasper mountains up to Northwest territory’s. The reason it’s been identified as Tsimshian/Tlingitk or Gitxkan is because of the eyes which are carved in a very traditional way with a frog-like look in the face. The proportians are correct.
It clearly is a very unique piece, so very detailed – done by a master of this art with lots of love to tradition and history in mind.
Measurements: total height 4“, bear itself is 3“ x 1“ x ¾“, the base is 5“ x 3“
Meaning: The Bear is a symbol for power, courage, physical strength and leadership. Warrior's e.g. are known to wear bear claw necklaces which meant protection. In Haida culture the Bear is referred to as "Elder Kinsman" and was treated like a high ranking guest.