"We Haida were surrounded by art. Art was one with culture. Art was our only written language. Throughout our history, it has been the art that has kept our spirits alive"

- Robert Davidson, t’saalth laanaas clan.

The Haida art is acknowledged as one of the greatest in the world. Masterpieces of Haida art tradition are found in major museum collections around the globe. Figures from Haida myths are found in fine carvings in stone, metal, wood and woven objects.

"Art is a gift from the spirit world. We all have the ability to visualize: that is our connection with the spirit world"

- Robert Davidson, t’saalth laanaas clan, 1993.

Today, as in traditional Haida culture, art pervades every aspect of life. In the old times, you might fish for a halibut using an intricately carved hook. At a feast, you might be served seafood on a carved dish.

Today, a dancer might animate a ceremonial carved mask. A small sculpture might be given as a gift, traded or sold in an urban gallery. A mother might weave a spruce Read More
"We Haida were surrounded by art. Art was one with culture. Art was our only written language. Throughout our history, it has been the art that has kept our spirits alive"

- Robert Davidson, t’saalth laanaas clan.

The Haida art is acknowledged as one of the greatest in the world. Masterpieces of Haida art tradition are found in major museum collections around the globe. Figures from Haida myths are found in fine carvings in stone, metal, wood and woven objects.

"Art is a gift from the spirit world. We all have the ability to visualize: that is our connection with the spirit world"

- Robert Davidson, t’saalth laanaas clan, 1993.

Today, as in traditional Haida culture, art pervades every aspect of life. In the old times, you might fish for a halibut using an intricately carved hook. At a feast, you might be served seafood on a carved dish.

Today, a dancer might animate a ceremonial carved mask. A small sculpture might be given as a gift, traded or sold in an urban gallery. A mother might weave a spruce root hat for her daughter.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Photo

Robert Davidson.

Photo: Nathalie Macfarlane.

© Nathalie Macfarlane


animation

Judd Smith dances the Eagle Dance at the Haida Gwaii Rediscovery Anniversary celebration.

Photo: Rediscovery International
c. 1997
© Rediscovery International


Bentwood Box

Haida carved and painted, red cedar, bentwood box.

Photo: Canadian Museum of Civilization

VII-C-109.
© Canadian Museum of Civilization


Box

Carved gold box by Bill Reid, 1971. Beaver and human design on box, and cast three dimensional Killer Whale on cover.

Bill Reid
Royal British Columbia Museum
c. 1971
CPN 13902
© Royal British Columbia Museum


Hat

Haida woven spruce root hat with painted design.

Photo: U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology

A3722.
© U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology


Photo

Reg and Robert Davidson drumming and singing, 1999.

Photo: Nathalie Macfarlane.

© Nathalie Macfarlane


hook

Carved yew wood halibut hook in the form of a human holding sea lion.

Photo: Canadian Museum of Civilization

© Canadian Museum of Civilization


hook

Haida Halibut hook with iron hook and attached carved, wood float representing seal swallowing halibut.

Photo: Royal British Columbia Museum

CPN 735.
© Royal British Columbia Museum


Bowl

Carved alder wood bowl in the form of a halibut.

Photo: Canadian Museum of Civilization

VII-B-1484.
© Canadian Museum of Civilization


Mask

Haida transformation mask collected on Haida Gwaii in 1879. Whale transforming to human.

Photo: Canadian Museum of Civilization

VII-B-23.
© Canadian Museum of Civilization


sculpture

The Raven and the First Men; sculpture in yellow cedar by Bill Reid.

Photo: Museum of Anthropology (University of British Columbia), Sculpture: Bill Reid

no 1.481.
© Museum of Anthropology (University of British Columbia)


Model

Carved and painted model canoe.

Photo: U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology

NB1.632.
© U.B.C. Museum of Anthropology


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe Haida art using examples
  • Explain the Haida philosophy toward art
  • Develop aesthetic appreciation for two and three dimensional works of art

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans