The Richness of Haida Ceremonial Art




I’ve spent the afternoon researching Haida art, history and culture and have some great links to share with you now.

Haida art can’t be considered apart from traditions, culture, song, story telling, language and dance. Truly, the form of Haida art follows the function of an entire way of life.

To see an overview of the richness and scope of Haida art and of the tendency for the tradition to pass down through families and communities explore this profusely illustrated  four page pdf which outlines two 13 part film series which were made in 2002 and 2003.

 Perhaps if you are lucky you will find a source to acquire and view these films.

A major part of the current Haida resurgence in strength and voice is devoted to protecting their almost pristine rain forest/ocean environment; and in particular, the determination to prevent the spread of non-sustainable clear cut logging methods introduced by the logging industry, which has brought many if not most of North American forests to the point of ruin. It is to be hoped that the revered natural environment will be sustained and will in turn be able to sustain life and art in Haida-Gwaii. So far the Haida have succeeded in getting protective covenants in place over at least half their lands.



To read about and view some of the seminal myths and storys which are acted and danced with the aid of ceremonial masks such as the one I currently have for sale, go to:

This story is about Dogfish Woman and there are several other stories to choose from in the menu on the left of this story.

There are several very useful and informative links at the bottom of the page, so scroll down and view them.

And now to this stunning mask I am offering for sale!



Bella Coola Raven - clacker mask - James Leslie b.1952


James Leslie is a Northwest Coast artist of Metis descent who lives a in Sooke, BC. He studied under several well-known Haida artists and his  ceremonial masks are amazing. This one is of a Bella Coola Raven. Raven was one of the traditional figures in folk myths and was a helper/god with a reputation as a trickster.

This particular mask is especially striking because in addition to the brilliant colours and the strong grain of the cedar, by pulling a string hidden beneath his costume, the Raven could emit a loud and fierce clacking noise which added to the drama of the storytelling dance, and made this figure the centre of attention.

The face of this mask is 7 inches high and 7 inches wide, and the braided cedar bark hair which hung down about the dancer’s cloak  is 24 inches long. A very striking piece indeed.



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