House Post, from a Set of Four
Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
These two house posts depict the creation story of the Heiltsuk eagle clan and its ancestral homeland, Yálátli (Goose Island): In the beginning of time, many of the world’s inhabitants were animals and supernatural creatures. Some could take off their fur and feathers and assume human form, while others always remained in their supernatural form. One day, a supernatural eagle with a human face and a bird’s beak saw a whale in the water and tried to seize it for food. After a mighty struggle, the eagle flipped the whale over and began to devour it, spilling the whale’s intestines into the water, where they piled up to form Yálátli. The eagle decided to live on the island, becoming human and adopting the name Wigvilhba Wákas (Eagle Nose), which has been passed down through the generations and is today held by Chief Harvey Humchitt.
98 x 35 1/4 x 17 1/2in. (248.9 x 89.5 x 44.5cm)
Museum Expedition 1911, Museum Collection Fund
House post made of cedar wood, dark and unpainted. Two figures: supernatural bird, probably a thunderbird, holds a small humanoid figure to its chest area in front of a shield called a "copper". The Supernatural bird has a beak as well as humanoid ears and mouth. The frontal figures are carefully carved in high relief. The back is roughly carved and relatively flat.
Condition: The best of the set of four. (see 11.700.2-.3-.4) There are several cracks that include many large vertical cracks, abrasions, losses, scratches, and surface wear. In some areas the wood is weak due to rot and insect damage. There are iron hooks on the back, top and bottom, evidently from a former mount.
Heiltsuk (Bella Bella). House Post, from a Set of Four, 19th century. Cedar wood, 98 x 35 1/4 x 17 1/2in. (248.9 x 89.5 x 44.5cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1911, Museum Collection Fund, 11.700.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 11.700.1_left_+bw.jpg)
3/4, 11.700.1_left_+bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.