Native American, Simon Charlie (Coast Salish, 1920-2005) - signed with his name beneath the chin, Duncan, British Columbia, ca. mid 20th century CE. A hand-carved and hand-painted wooden cod lure with a zoomorphic head (perhaps belonging to a sea wolf) and three ovoid extensions - decorated throughout with red and black painted figural designs. The head is carved and painted with bold features, and the three extensions feature additional painted iconography including a fish on the uppermost and red-spotted slithering tailed body forms on the side elements, probably intended to complete the sea wolf. Size: 13.85" W x 5.25" H (35.2 cm x 13.3 cm); 6.9" H (17.5 cm) on included custom stand.
Simon Charlie (Hwunumetse) was named a 2003 recipient of the Order of Canada for his major contributions to education and preservation of his Coast Salish cultural heritage. Additional honors include the National Centennial Medal (1967) and the Order of British Columbia (2001). Quite prolific, Charlie's totem poles stand in the Royal British Columbia Museum, the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, New York, Chicago, Holland, New Zealand, and Australia. His artworks and masks are also found in esteemed collections in North and South America, Europe, and Japan. Committed to preserving cultural traditions, language, and the visual arts of his people, Charlie was also dedicated to sharing this knowledge with the younger generation by mentoring young Coast Salish artists.
This hook style was designed to capture the correct size of cod, who feed by opening their mouths wide. If the fish was too small, it would not be able to hook itself; if the fish was too large (and might capsize a small boat), it would put the entire hook in its mouth and not be barbed. Over time, hooks like these were replaced by non-wooden technology; however, they continued to be carved as pieces of art.
Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection
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