Thursday, August 28, 2008

entering a house through the bird's beak...

northwest indian plank house 1900's

northwest indian plank house 1890's

two images from a great little catalog of northwest coast indian plank house architecture from the old arco gallery in los ageles, 1983. the top image is a house, circa 1899, which shows how a european style building was decorated with traditional crest figures of the tsimshian. this was the last phase of indian architecture before they adopted "the white society's architecture"; and i think the combination of early americana and northwest indian images is pretty stunning.

the second image is circa 1917, and shows a huge raven's beak over the front door. the incredible thing is that the bottom of the raven's beak could be dropped down to form a ramp, and one would actually walk up the beak and into the house through the raven's mouth for ceremonial entrances. it is as if a piece of cheese so wanted to be eaten by a mouse that he would walk himself right into its stomach.

for these indians, "doorways and thresholds were considered dangerous because they were areas of transition, spaces between two worlds". the houses symbolized animals and/or cosmos.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The statement is pointless
The finger is speechless

8:11 AM  
Blogger ArtSparker said...

Just then a monstrous crow flew by
As big as a tar barrel
Which frightened both our heroes so
They quite forgot their quarrel
-Tweedledum and Tweedledee (in Alice in Wonderland, but Dodgson was quoting)

8:51 AM  

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