Old, traditional Killer Whale, signed James Dick
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Killer Whale Sculpture
signed by late James Dick, a member of the Namgis Nation, who used to live in Alert Bay, grandfather to Beau Dick. This is really a traditional and old style piece of Indigenous art, quite fascinating. The Whale's body is fully painted in black, then accented in white, brown and red.
A little history: The killer whale is such an important character in the Northwest Coast mythology. In old ways, the Whale was generally represented by masks so large that they might be called body masks, since they partially covered the body. When such a mask was worn, it was necessary for the dancer to lean forward so as to bear the weight with his shoulder and back muscles, using the back of his arms to help support it. His hands where thus left free to manipulate the strings that move the various appendages. His lower body and legs were concealed beneath a long cape of cedar bark fringe. This position and the covering of the dancer made it appear that the killer whale was floating or swimming whenever the dancer moved. The body masks complete with side fins, dorsal fins, and tails, all of which can be made to move sideways, back and forth, and up and down by the pulling of the appropriate strings.
This piece was not made for dancing but it is a fabulous example of true Indigenous art. The age is unknown but it does show signs of gentle handling and aging, scratches, dents, nothing unexpected considering the age - it's not articulated.
Measurements: total: 21" x 17" x 12"
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