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Totem pole with legend of clan’s origin

Totem pole with legend of clan’s origin

Totem pole with legend of clan’s origin

Cedar wood and pigment

H: 119; W: 33 cm

Gift of Hanno Mott, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

Accession number:

B96.0313

Arts/Americas

Totem poles are carved with crest figures that relate family history, glorify the living, or commemorate the dead. This section of a totem shows a grizzly bear holding his human wife while she shelters a small cub, symbolizing the protection of members of the clan. In the Bear Mother Legend, a chief’s daughter was abducted by a mythological grizzly bear who assumed a human form. She gave birth to twin cubs, which became human, and they are the ancestors of all clans belonging to the Bear totem lineage.

From the Israel Museum publications:

3x50@50: IMJ Collection Highlights, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2015