Frog’s appearance in ancient Haida Art is fascinating because there were no Frogs on Haida-Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) until they were recently introduced. To the Haida, Frog was a strong spiritual being and was a watchman and messenger from the spirit world. While Frog may seem a small and helpless creature, he is really a being of great power. The image of Frog, in Northwest Coast Indian Art, is often portrayed in the act of transferring spiritual power; this is often portrayed as two creatures with their tongues connected. When you see this tableau in the art it has meaning far beyond artistic license.
One day Frog, while on his way home, was absorbed with his own thoughts and as he hopped around a bend in the trail he startled Grizzly Bear. Bear growled at Frog and bared his huge teeth while he tried to step on him. Frog escaped and ran (hopped?) back to his village where he embellished the story about the horrible monster that was seen nearby. All of the Frogs held council to determine the best course of action to avoid the new scourge of the neighborhood. They determined to combine their magic powers and grow wings so they could fly to the mainland and escape the horrible monster. Thus, there came to be no Frogs on Haida-Gwaii. This Frog is shown with feathers where his front legs should be so he can fly away from the Grizzly bear or bear the wearer far from danger.
I have always been fascinated by this story because of the crazy idea of flying frogs. I thought the concept was unique to the North west coast until one day Scott Jensen brought me a little wood carving from Indonesia of a frog with wings!
Hand-carved Sterling Silver Flying Frog Bracelet by Owen Walker, 1.25 inch width tapering to .75 inch, with Abalone inlaid eyes.
D14 price: $650.00
That’s a lucky grin, if ever I’ve seen one!