Magnificent and haunting, the tall cedar sculptures called totem poles have become a distinctive symbol of the native people of the Northwest Coast. The powerful carvings of the vital and extraordinary beings such as Sea Bear, Thunderbird and Cedar Man are impressive and intriguing. Looking at Totem Poles is an indispensable guide to 110 poles in easily accessible outdoor locations in coastal British Columbia and Alaska. In clear and lively prose, Hilary Stewart describes the various types of poles, their purpose, and how they were carved and raised. She also identifies and explains frequently depicted figures and objects. Each pole, shown in a beautifully detailed drawing, is accomplished by a text that points out the crests, figures and objects carved on it. Historical and cultural background are given, legends are recounted and often the carver's comments or anecdotes enrich the pole's story. Photographs put some of the poles into context or show their carving and raising. This book is a companion volume to Hilary Stewart's enormously successful Looking at Indian Art of the Northwest Coast. Hilary Stewart is an award-winning and critically acclaimed writer of nine books on Northwest Coast First Nations art and culture.
Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre; Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993