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Sea lion feast bowl
The Kwakiutl culture is one of the richest cultures in Canada. Many people know them for coming up with wooden carvings that represent animals. The major curvature that is known of the culture is the bowl that contains two animals. These are two animals that are very important in the people’s culture. They not only define the culture of the people but also give the people an identity. The major one that is known by many people was done sea lion feast bowl which contained a tail that looked like a lion with a head of an eagle. The animal was very much treasured by the people. The bowl is said to have been made between 1850 and 1875. There were many artists that did this work. It was a major phenomenon because most of the artists always desired to come up with a bowl that looked like the sea lion as a result of the much respect that people had for the animal. The bowl not only represents aspects of culture but also shows the extent to which art was appreciated by people during that time.
The extent to which the bowl followed the principles of art and drawing
One of the most important things that artists have to look at when coming up with any art is the fact that there are principles to be followed. For the artists during this time, they might not have had an idea of the principles but then they knew what they were doing. Looking at the image, it is evident that it has presented a lot of principles that even the modern day artists have failed to bring out clearly. The first one that is evident in the artwork is the similarity. When one looks at the sea lion versus the bowl that has been made, it is clear that it is a true presentation of what the animal looks like. A good artist should always come up with an art that resembles the real phenomenon they are referring to. By just looking at this wooden bowl, one does not have to wonder which animal it is. As long as one knows what a sea lion is, they can easily tell that the bowl looks like a sea lion (Charles, 186).
Another principle that has greatly been put to use is contrast. Different parts of the bowl have different color contrasts to reflect different things. Artists have to ensure that the art they come up with reflects the real object as well as the color of the object. The wooden curvature is a true representation of the sea lion. Although one has to look very keenly in order to note that the tail of the lion is an eagle head, it clearly shows how the animal looks like. Though it is wooden, one cannot tell how the colors clearly show different parts of the body. For example, the teeth have to be lighter than the other parts of the body. It is common knowledge that most animals have white teeth. The artist has clearly shown this by providing contract between the colors on the other body parts with that of the teeth.
Another important principle that has been taken into consideration by the artist is content. The intention of the artist is always shown in the content that has been relayed in the art. The sea lion is known to be a fierce animal yet it is always hunted. People from the community value the animal as a result of the oil that it has. By looking at the bowl, one can derive such information. The fact that the bowl has a lion head already shows the fierce nature of the animal. Looking at the history of the community, it is evident that people valued the sea lion and the eagle very much. Instead of having two different curvings to show these animals, the artist went ahead to combine them in one. This clearly shows the extent to which the artists wanted to emphasize the importance of the two animals. Just like a bowl is important to human beings, the two animals have been combined in an artwork that looked like a bowl. This emphasizes that the two animals are respected and that the culture of the people revolves around them.
When coming up with art, it is also to take into consideration the aspects of dominance (Charles, 156). By looking at the bowl, the shape is the most dominant feature followed by the lion head. When one moves closer, he or she will notice the eagle head that has been used as the tail of the lion. This clearly shows the intention of the artist. The first thing is that the artist wanted to show that it is a bowl. Everyone within the community knows the importance of a bowl and will therefore regard the carving highly. When one moves closer, he or she will note the lion head that has been used. The fact that it is a sea lion will also emphasize the importance of the bowl. Once a person from the community sees the shape of the sea lion, which is one animal that they value a lot, they will start thinking about the eagle which is another animal that has been valued by the community since the old days. Lastly, the person will note that the tail of the lion is an eagle. A person will feel that the carving carries all the important aspects of their culture and that it has been done to represent what the community values most.
The art has clearly shown different aspects that must always be taken into consideration by any piece of art. It is highly regarded as an art that was done by an experts as a result of the message that it conveys that extent to which different aspect were taken into consideration when making it. It is a piece of art that will continue to show the culture of the people during the period when it was made by the artists.
Arthur Charles (1909). A Complete Guide to Heraldry. Ill. by Graham Johnston. London & Edinburgh: T.C. & E.C. Jack. p. 186
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