Argillite Pipe, Haida
Haida, British Columbia, Northern America, 1820-1840
Height : 16 cm
Haida argillite carvings are a sculptural tradition among the Haida indigenous people of the Northwest Coast of North America. The black slate that the Haida use to carve is located on the island of Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.
Knut Fladmark, a professor in the Archaeology department at Simon Fraser University, believes argillite was known to the Haida pre-European contact, and that it had been used for more utilitarian purposes such as the creation of labrets.
Fladmark excavated at the Richardson Ranch site on Graham Island, located near the mouth of the Tlell River. During the summers of 1969 and 1970 he found the first major archaeological assemblage of argillite. Fladmark's analysis of the assemblage led him to believe that the creation of argillite pieces for the purpose of trade followed its use within the Haida community as a pipestone.
Robin Kathleen Wright believes it was the introduction of the tobacco pipe into the Haida culture that spawned the first argillite carvings. Smoking tobacco was introduced to the Haida by European and American sailors. Argillite pipes that show evidence of smoking tobacco date from about 1810-1840 and are generally small in size but have proportionally large bowls. These very early argillite pieces depict traditional Haida images normally seen one totem poles, masks, rattles and spoon handles, and are carved in a thin plate of argillite, like the above example. The intricate iconography and graphical qualities of this piece are particularly remarkable.
Price : on request