These tall bookends with a Northwest Coast Indian representation of the mythic Raven are carved in low relief on the traditional Red Cedar. There is a sheet-metal foot attached to each bookend. A mother of pearl eye, presumably derived from Abalone shell, graces each Raven. We purchased this pair 2 years ago at a Western Indian show in California, but we can only guess at its age. It is unsigned and is categorized as folk art.
Raven is an important figure in Northwest Coast Indian lore. Raven is a supernatural entity who can transform into any other creature and continuously searches for food. He created the sun, moon and stars as well as salmon and cedar for the Indians, but also numerous harmful events by the trickery he uses to obtain food. Raven appears frequently in Northwest Coast Native American art – on totem poles, boxes, masks, and silk screens. The Raven Song continues to be performed at celebrations and special occasions. Check out this YouTube Video recording of the Tsimshian Raven Dance of the LAX Kxeen Tshimshian Traditional Dancers, January 2012.