House Post, from a Set of Four
Without knowing which Heilstuk family owned this house post, we cannot know the identities of meanings of the figures it represents. Northwest Coast scholars and native artist consultants have suggested several possibilities, including an animal with human characteristics, a thunderbird, a hawk, a wild man of the forest, and a mythological creature. As with all Northwest Coast sculpture, the figures would have had an ancestral relationship to the original owners.
- Culture: Heiltsuk (Bella Bella), Native American
- Medium: Cedar wood
- Place Made: Waglisla (Bella Bella), British Columbia, Canada
- Dates: 19th century
- Dimensions: 98 x 35 1/4 x 17 1/2in. (248.9 x 89.5 x 44.5cm) (show scale)
- Collections:Arts of the Americas
- Museum Location: This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
- Accession Number: 11.700.1
- Credit Line: Museum Expedition 1911, Museum Collection Fund
- Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
- Caption: Heiltsuk (Bella Bella) (Native American). House Post, from a Set of Four, 19th century. Cedar wood, 98 x 35 1/4 x 17 1/2in. (248.9 x 89.5 x 44.5cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1911, Museum Collection Fund, 11.700.1. Creative Commons-BY
- Catalogue Description: This is a house post made of cedar wood, dark and unpainted. Two figures: supernatural bird, probably a thunderbird, holds a small humanoid figure to its chest area in front of a shield called a "copper". The Supernatural bird has a beak as well as humanoid ears and mouth. The frontal figures are carefully carved in high relief. The back is roughly carved and relatively flat. Condition is generally the best in a set of 4. (see 11.700.2-.3-.4) There are several cracks that include many large vertical cracks, abrasions, losses, scratches, and surface wear. In some areas the wood is weak due to rot and insect damage. There are iron hooks on the back, top and bottom, evidently from a former mount.
- Record Completeness: Best (91%)