Ancestral Spirit Bentwood Box

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Red Cedar wood, Acrylic paint

Henry Green’s ‘Ancestral Spirit Box’ demonstrates the extensive history of the artist’s Tsimshian community. Each panel has complex layers of family history throughout and is essentially Henry’s ancestry carved into the wood.

The central figure of ‘Ancestral Spirit Bentwood Box’ represents a story told to Henry by his father regarding the importance of paying respect to the supernatural spirit Nok-nok.

Along the Nass River in northern BC, where there were many Tsimshian villages situated, there are two large boulders of important significance. While travelling in the canoes along the Nass River, whenever the Tsimshian people came upon these two boulders, they would stop and pay tribute to the Nok-nok spirit leaving offerings of food and gifts while performing a ceremonial dance. They believed this practice would allow them safe passage and protection during their journey. On Henry Green’s bentwood box, the Nok-nok spirit is depicted with his face and hands projecting outwards in friendship and peace.

The additional three sides of the box depict an evolution of ancestral crest designs. Through supernatural events and intermarriage, clans would gain and lose crest figures. Each side of “Ancestral Spirit Box” is the visual telling of Henry’s personal lineage and characterizes the interchange of crests throughout the living generations. The main form-line design grows and changes, taking on elements of new creatures such as the Eagle, Salmon, and Raven to name a few.

16.25 x 15 x 15"

Price available on request

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Red Cedar wood, Acrylic paint

Henry Green’s ‘Ancestral Spirit Box’ demonstrates the extensive history of the artist’s Tsimshian community. Each panel has complex layers of family history throughout and is essentially Henry’s ancestry carved into the wood.

The central figure of ‘Ancestral Spirit Bentwood Box’ represents a story told to Henry by his father regarding the importance of paying respect to the supernatural spirit Nok-nok.

Along the Nass River in northern BC, where there were many Tsimshian villages situated, there are two large boulders of important significance. While travelling in the canoes along the Nass River, whenever the Tsimshian people came upon these two boulders, they would stop and pay tribute to the Nok-nok spirit leaving offerings of food and gifts while performing a ceremonial dance. They believed this practice would allow them safe passage and protection during their journey. On Henry Green’s bentwood box, the Nok-nok spirit is depicted with his face and hands projecting outwards in friendship and peace.

The additional three sides of the box depict an evolution of ancestral crest designs. Through supernatural events and intermarriage, clans would gain and lose crest figures. Each side of “Ancestral Spirit Box” is the visual telling of Henry’s personal lineage and characterizes the interchange of crests throughout the living generations. The main form-line design grows and changes, taking on elements of new creatures such as the Eagle, Salmon, and Raven to name a few.

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