Eagle Feast Bowl
EXHIBITION:Robert Barratt: An Eye for Beauty
Eagle is one of the most important creatures in native art and mythology, respected for its power and intelligence. In spirit it is noble and represents high ideals. In many tribes, the Eagle clan is traditionally the most powerful. It is not unusual, therefore. For feast bowls and other serving implements to be either carved as or decorated with such important clan figures. This particular bowl is inspired by a very old Nisga’a feast bowl pictured in a Nisga’a Tribal Council publication given to me by my mentor, Norman Tait. I have always thought of it as a masterpiece, and there is no better way to appreciate that than to carve it oneself to get a genuine “feel” for the original carver’s mastery. This bowl is close enough for me to have been both impressed and humbled by my Nisga’a predecessor. Like most of their feast bowls, this one is carved from maple. I applied a wash to give it some of the patina that the original acquired through long use and more than a century of admiration in some museum’s collection before recent repatriation.