UNIDENTIFIED ARTIST, HAIDAHAIDA-MOTIF PANEL PIPE, CIRCA EARLY 1830Sargillite, 2.5 x 9 x 1 in (6.3 x 22.9 x 2.5 cm)
This small and compact figure group/pipe is tightly composed and minimally pierced, perhaps just functional as a pipe. Some panel pipes occupy the opposite end of a spectrum of compositional styles, being thinner with a great deal more piercing between stretched out figures. Development in this direction took place over at least a decade following the time of this panel pipe.
This pipe contains at least eight figures. Left to right, bottom; a bear with its forefeet reaching forward, a frog protruding above its head, and its body tucked beneath what is probably a wolf (longer snout and ears than the bear), its ears and elbows flanking the bowl of the pipe. Below the bear is a human figure facing down, its arms and hands visible on each side of the panel. Its body is flanked by a raven’s wings. A humanoid bird image faces upward behind the pipe bowl, its hands and elbows flanking the pipe bowl, its wings visible on each side of the panel beneath its head and body. A large humanoid figure is shown with its tongue in the beak of a raven, the human’s hands flanking the raven’s head, the bird’s beak pointed up at an angle and the back of its head on the base of the panel. The raven’s wings flow down from the human’s body and along the base of the pipe below the bowl. An unusual bear-like being faces upward at the end of the pipe, its forearms and body supporting the angled head of the raven. The space between this figure’s up-standing ears contains the end of the pipe stem, which is drilled through to the base of the bowl within the intervening figures. The panel includes only minimal flat design areas, on both the bird’s wings, though these flat designs are of an early nineteenth-century style.
Steven C. Brown
A 19th C unidentified Haida artist, Haida-motif argillite panel pipe, circa 1830
Additional InformationLITERATUREFor a section on Haida-motif pipes see Peter L. Macnair and Alan J. Hoover, The Magic Leaves: A History of Haida Argillite Carving (Victoria: Royal BC Museum, 1984/2002), pp. 26-38.For a similarly styled pipe see See Leslie Drew and Douglas Wilson, Argillite: Art of the Haida (Vancouver: Hancock House, 1980), p. 144 (Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin).For similar works categorized as “First Period” see Carol Sheehan, Pipes that won’t Smoke: Coal that won’t Burn: Haida Sculpture in Argillite (Calgary: Glenbow Museum, 1981), p. 139.See also Steven C. Brown, Native Visions: Evolution in Northwest Coast Art from the Eighteenth through the Twentieth Century (Seattle: Seattle Art Museum / Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998), p. 96; and Bill Holm, The Box of Daylight: Northwest Coast Indian Art (Seattle Art Museum, 1983), p. 104.
Private Collection, British Columbia.
Price upon request.