NA-3785- A NORTHWEST COAST CARVED AND
PAINTED WOOD CANOE PADDLE DEPICTING
TWO LIGHTNING SERPENTS NUU-CHAH-NULTH (NOOTKA) TRIBE,
Vancouver Island, Canada
Late 19th to Early 20th Century
Length: 53.5 inches (136 cm.)
PROVENANCE: The Ursula and David Fairchild Collection of Ethnographic Art, La Jolla,
California. Acquired during the 1970s.
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on both sides relief in the form of two lightning serpents, each with
individual characteristics, and painted in red and black with trade pigments.
Known by the Nuu-Chah-Nulth (Nootka) people, native to Vancouver Island, Canada, as Haietlik, this legendary icon was used by the thunderbirds as a
weapon in whale hunting, said to have tongues that shoot lightning bolts. During early contact with Europeans, the Haietlik effigies were seen painted on the sides of
canoes, paddles, and harpoons, for invoking the spiritual aid in whaling.This paddle exhibits a beautiful patina, good wear, and evidence of native usage, such as chips
out of the top end of the paddle where it had been gripped consistently over a long period of time.