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The sea lion on the lid of this argillite chest – here wrestling with what looks like a little bear – is characteristic of one of Mr. Edenshaw’s favourite motifs. There’s a bear face protruding from one side of the chest and on the opposite side, not shown, is an eagle’s face – which matches stylistically eagles found in his other works. The chest is from the late 19th century and is part of the Argillite Collection of Alaska Heritage Museum at Wells Fargo.

JEFF VINNICK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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This 1902 Humanoid Mask, which exemplifies the notion of Haida tradition and ceremony, is one of only two known masks made by Mr. Edenshaw. When the first anthropologists and ethnographers came to Haida Gwaii looking for art to collect for the great museums, they were directed to Mr. Edenshaw, so great was his reputation even during his lifetime. This mask was commissioned by anthropologist John Swanton for the American Museum of Natural History, and is still in its collection.

JEFF VINNICK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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This platter, which was made pre-1894, depicts the story of how Raven gave females their tsaw – or sex organ. The half-human/half-raven spear-carrying figure in the canoe is assisted by the Fungus Man behind him. Fungus Man’s help was required because when Raven tried to paddle himself to obtain the tsaw, he “became sweet” (or had an orgasm) when he neared the area in question, and fell out of the canoe. Fungus Man was also affected by the power of the tsaw, but he was wedged into the canoe, so did not fall overboard. The platter is from the Argillite Collection of the Field Museum, Chicago.

JEFF VINNICK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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This late 19th-century silver bracelet is the widest known bracelet of Mr. Edenshaw’s. A spectacular piece, it features the supernatural sea bear, with a tall dorsal fin. It’s from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

JEFF VINNICK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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Photo of Charles Edenshaw by Harlan Ingersoll Smith, c. 1890.

CANADIAN MUSEUM OF CIVILIZATION

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This Bentwood Bowl, c. 1880, was used as a food container (as indicated by the undulating rim) and was decorated on all four sides with a design representing the bear – identified by the sharp canine teeth in the protruding snout – which was a crest of Isabella Edenshaw.

JEFF VINNICK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

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