Wolf Soul Catcher

Yellow Cedar

Soul Catchers are among the most sacred objects created and used by the Haida, Tlingit and Ts’msyen nations of the Pacific Northwest Coast. The soulcatcher was worn as an amulet by a shaman, and critically important in their healing practice. Its use stems from the belief that when a soul is separated from a person’s physical body it can cause illness and damage. It is a shaman’s unique gift to find the person’s soul, capture it within the soulcatcher, and reunite it with its patient, resulting in healing and wholeness. The tool was designed so that the Shaman could suck in a wayward soul once it was found, and secure the spirit in the hollow tube by plugging the ends with cedar bark. Upon removing the cedar bark, the soul was blown back into its person, reuniting body and soul.

This magnificent work by Tlingit artist Neeka Cook continues his exquisite exploration of the historic and sacred objects of his Tlingit culture. Each new object Cook brings to the gallery solidifies our belief that he is among the very finest artists working today. His research into historic works, coupled with his deep understanding of formline design and impeccable craftsmanship make each new work a meaningful contribution to the canon.