Haida art is recognized around the world for its monumental totem poles and sculptures; fine carving in wood, metal and slate; and weaving. Through countless generations, Haida artists have developed a system of design, which they apply to both sculptural forms and two-dimensional art. It is this system, including the treatment of line and the use of recurring design elements that distinguishes Haida art.

The ocean is a profound source of inspiration for Haida art. Many of the creatures found on family crest poles and other carved objects are drawn from the ocean. Killer whales, sea lions, halibut, sharks and supernatural beings such as the Sea-wolf are some of these beings of the sea that Haida artists depict.
Haida art is recognized around the world for its monumental totem poles and sculptures; fine carving in wood, metal and slate; and weaving. Through countless generations, Haida artists have developed a system of design, which they apply to both sculptural forms and two-dimensional art. It is this system, including the treatment of line and the use of recurring design elements that distinguishes Haida art.

The ocean is a profound source of inspiration for Haida art. Many of the creatures found on family crest poles and other carved objects are drawn from the ocean. Killer whales, sea lions, halibut, sharks and supernatural beings such as the Sea-wolf are some of these beings of the sea that Haida artists depict.

© 1998, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Box

Haida carved and painted, red cedar, bentwood box.

Photo: Canadian Museum of Civilization

VII-C-109
© Canadian Museum of Civilization


Hat

Painted Haida spruce root hat.

Photo: U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology

A3722
© U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology


Sculpture

Happy Blowhole - cast bronze sculpture

Sculpture: Robert Davidson, 1992. Photo: Trevor Mills

© Robert Davidson, 1992


Totem Poles

Skung Gwaii, three totem poles.

Photo: Tommy Greene, Jr

© Tommy Greene, Jr


Mat

Woven spruce root mat with painted sea lion design by Charles and Isabella Edenshaw circa 1895.

Photo: U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology

A7203
© U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology


Mask

Carved cedar dogfish mask by Robert Davidson, 1974.

by Robert Davidson
Royal British Columbia Museum
c. 1974
CPN 15119
© Royal British Columbia Museum


Screen

Carved cedar screen showing prominent beings from Haida stories.

Bill Reid
Royal British Columbia Museum
c. 1967
CPN 16639
© Royal British Columbia Museum


Sculpin

Sculpin (bullhead), pencil drawing

Drawing: Tom Price.
Royal British Columbia Museum

CPN 16557
© Royal British Columbia Museum


Sea Wolf

Sea wolf, model of memorial crest, late19th century.

Photo: Royal British Columbia Museum
c. 1900
CPN 238
© Royal British Columbia Museum


Learning Objectives

The learners will:
  • Appreciate the relationship between Haida people and their environment
  • Describe elements of Haida art, using examples
  • Identify inspirations for Haida art
  • Recognize prominent works of Haida art, and the names of prominent Haida artists

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