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Sterling silver, 14K Yellow Gold, Engraved
Only 1 available
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- Additional Information
- Artist Bio
Sterling silver, 14K Yellow Gold, Engraved
|Dimensions||3/8 x 6 "|
Robert Tait was a Nisga’a artist born in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada. The Nisga’a nation inhabits the banks of the Nass River located in the northern region of the province.
Robert was born into the Eagle Clan which is considered a primary family crest among coastal Northern Nations. His elder brothers Alver and Norman are renowned carvers who greatly influenced Robert in his formative years. His brother, Alver resides in a small village near the Nass River from whom Robert received a great deal of inspiration and knowledge about his ancestry. As a result, he takes great pride in knowing his language and ceremonial traditions that helped shape his artwork. Under the guidance and tutelage of his brother Norman, Robert embarked on woodcarving in 1979 while attending a grant program established by the Arts and Crafts Society of British Columbia. After successfully completing this program, Robert progressed to jewelry carving in 1980. He enjoyed working with silver and gold to such an extent, that he continues to pursue engraving on metal over wood.
Robert developed his own style clearly reminiscent of his ancestry. He enjoyed incorporating fine detail into his designs along with achieving dimension by way of a gouging technique. He was best known for his whimsical hummingbird depictions with elegant foliage.
Throughout his career, Robert was involved with many public commissions where he acted as one of the principal carvers. Although the projects varied, many involved carving full-sized totem poles to be raised at traditional ceremonial practices. One of the tallest poles, measured over 60 feet in height and is currently displayed at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Additionally, he assisted in carving a full size canoe that was used to travel from Prince Rupert to Kincolith, a small village off the bank of the Nass River.
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Sterling silver, Engraved
The Supernatural Log is more commonly referred to as Snag or Ts’Amos (Alternate spellings: Ttaamuus, Tsamaos). He is the personification of the seafaring Haidas’ obstacles while on the ocean in canoes; driftwood or deadheads. The Snag is an amorphous supernatural creature both in artwork and in legend and first appeared as a crest figure of families along the Skeena River. It is believed to have first appeared on jewelry designs by the famed Charles Edenshaw, whose father took the Snag as a crest.
A Snag can vary in appearance, much like the driftwood it imitates, but it almost always has a snag (deadhead) for a dorsal fin. It can be as simple as a dead log with a tail that can swim against the current. It can be a huge sea lion with dorsal fins and blowholes, or an enormous grizzly bear with a downturned mouth like a dogfish. It can be a hybrid of bear and Killerwhale, or raven and Killerwhale, with multiple bodies. It can be a large frog covered in seaweed with a snag sticking out of its back, and can even be a canoe or a schooner. Most visible at the change of tides, the Snag, if angered can breach and land on canoes, smashing them to bits. He also can make huge waves to capsize boats. The Snag was frequently featured as a protective figure on Bentwood Boxes that contained treasured artifacts, and is frequently depicted with Raven, its counterpart.
The Snag is a very important feature in the Haida legend of How the World Was Formed. Before there was the world as we know it, Raven was flying and flying and flying, and finally came to rest on a single rock, which was the tip of Haida Gwaii and the beginning of the world. This rock, was supported beneath (from the undersea world) by a stone house pole, which was in fact the fin of the Snag. It is therefore common to see the Raven and Snag in conjunction in Haida art. The Snag figure can be seen as an acceptance of responsibility for supporting the world, similar to the Atlas figure in Greek mythology.
It is believed the legends around the Snag was a warning for those who travelled by canoe to be more wary of their surroundings, especially at the change of the tides, and keep them alert on the water. When the tides change, deadheads and hidden logs or obstacles can suddenly appear and be a danger. As the Haida relied on trade with Mainland Nations to survive, it was pertinent for them to be adept at sea, paddling the vast distances to and from the islands to the coast.