Northern Box Study - Circa 1875 - Bird Design
"The use of steam-bent, cornered upright storage boxes is universal on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island to Alaska. Since pre-contact the designs have evolved to become highly stylized, but very traditional layouts. It is speculated that because these boxes were such an inter tribal trade item, the designs were intentionally rather obscure in their figurative identification as they would be appropriate for any family or clan to use no matter where you were from. My interpretation of these box designs is that one side represents a bird or animal crest, and the other side is a human form. The bird side is identified by the asymmetrical salmon trout main face eyes, large open mouth with down swept beak like lips, wing like feathers below the face and feather like areas above the head. The opposite, or human side, is shown with human face eyes, human like nose and mouth and human hands below the central face. The chest area of each box design has abstract filler faces done in red form line.
The old box which these designs are taken from dates from circa 1875, possibly older, and is painted in native hand made pigment with a salmon roe base or bonding agent. There is no collection history on the box, but I suspect that it may be Tsimshian tribe in origin. The lid of the box is made from a solid slab of wood which has been hollowed and recessed into the top of the box. The oval areas on the lid represent the inlays of operculum shells which are part of the red turbaned sea snail. The best old boxes usually have these inlays."
- John Livingston
This print is also available as a set with matching numbers along with 'Northern Nox Study - Circa 1875 - Human Design'. Please inquire under the 'Contact Us' tab.
This limited edition silkscreen print titled "Northern Box Study - Circa 1875 - Bird Design" by John Livingston was hand produced by the screen printing process. It is the only limited edition printing of this design. The artist has inspected and signed each copy in the edition. All trial copies of this edition have been destroyed and the printing stencils obliterated.