It says that this is a model for the world's fair. Was it an exact model? Or is it generalized?
It has many accurate depictions (for example, we know that the name of the house was Seen-ah-Cootkie, meaning House of Contentment) and that the figure on poles included: wasgo (seawolf), whale, female shaman, three watchmen on top, one on each corner post adopted through connections with Skidegate family. The model was made by George Dickson who was a Haida artist, and this was one of an entire village of houses each made to replicate each exact house in the village. The only exceptions would be the interiors were often not complete as sacred items that the public should not see would have been left out.
What is a potlatch ceremony?
Potlatches were elaborate feasts, usually held in the winter that included ceremonies.They could range from minor events for children at various times in their life cycle, to more significant festivals celebrating the assumption of dance privileges to great, elaborate events including many activities: the assumption of chiefly name and position, the exchange of coppers (objects that looks like a shield made from copper with symbolic designs on it and is of great value and prestige), marriages, the erection of totem poles, and the buildings of houses. On each of these occasions, guests received payment from the host for their service as witnesses; their acceptance of these payments signified their validation of their host's claims of status, so they were also a way to re-distribute wealth within communities. Payments included button blankets (trade blankets with trade buttons sewn on in clan designs), and towering stacks of Hudson Bay trade blankets. Button Blankets were regalia that was generally worn by women. Other forms of payments included feast dishes carved from wood and horn, and coppers (pieces of valuable metal also sometimes carved), dance regalia, food, and elaborately carved rattles.
Any ideas about this see-saw like roof opening on the model house?
The opening in the roof is actually to let the smoke out during ceremonies and other occasions when fires are lit.
Well, with the directions of wind and rains, you would want as much smoke as possible to get out of your house, yet let in as little rain, so you would want it to swing multiple directions-rather ingenious design!
The Northwest Coast's climate is a lot like a rainforest, but with the added winds of being so close to the Pacific ocean.
Tell me more.
The Haida house was a manifestation of the cosmos; the four sides represent the four directions. This model was commissioned by an anthropologist to be exhibited at the 1893 Exposition in Chicago.
In all, there were 27 model Haida buildings made for the exposition. The House of Contentment, recreated here, is based on a actual house built by Daniel Eldjiwus, whose wife was the daughter of Chief Albert Edward Edenshaw of the north coast of Graham Island, Canada.
La casa Haida fue una manifestación del cosmos, con los cuatro lados representando los cuatro puntos cardinales. La casa era el contenedor y protector de las almas de sus habitantes hasta su muerte.
Podría funcionar en el ámbito secular como una vivienda, o bien, como un centro ceremonial en el ámbito espiritual.