Whales, powerful hunters of the sea, were given much respect by native people. They were believed to have their own villages on the bottom of the sea. The Haida people believed that any Whales appearing in the sea in front of a village were drowned persons returning to communicate with them. This design can be either an Orca with teeth or a large whale by hatching the mouth area to resemble baleen; it is also unusual in that the whale’s body is rearranged to fit the bracelet instead of following the natural arrangement of body parts. This is called a distributive design and is quite common in Northwest designs. Look at some of the old box designs and drum designs, it is often difficult to see what the animal is, because of the distributions of the design elements.
This whale is one of my old designs that has grown through many incarnations, growing and shrinking getting more and getting less complex. It is not a very complex design, but must be spaced and carved with some precision or it loses its impact. The most difficult bit for me is getting both the ovoids in the tail to match perfectly. One of my favorites!
Hand-carved Sterling Silver Whale Bracelet by Owen Walker, 1 inch wide tapering to .6 inch.
D 25 price: $450.00