Humboldt Bay Paddle, c. 1900–2000
Kwila wood with a good patina of age and usage. 189 cm. Contact Gallery
An extremely rare woman’s paddle with decorated blade. These decoration on the blade is known as homo, a term that can be translated as “writing” or ornamentation and refers both to sculpting and painting. Only the blade of the paddles used by women had carved patterns. The motif here represents a large stylized, mythological, double-finned fish or whale. In addition to aesthetically enhancing the object, homo gives information about the person, family, and village who owned it. Specific designs were used by particular groups of people and passed on from one generation to another and each family or clan had its own designs that were copyrighted. In addition, political alliances between villages were visualized by the use of certain motifs. The designs and ornaments have mythological origins in relation to spirits and ancestors. Women's boats were called kayi. The pointed pommel is decorated with five carved decorative rings and a double collar. Courtesy Galerie Meyer - Oceanic & Eskimo Art.