Northern Box Study. Circa 1875.
“Northern Box Study. Circa 1875. Human Design”
“Northern Box Study. Circa 1875. Bird Design”
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Condition: no condition noted.
Description by Artist: ‘Northern Box Study. Circa 1875.‘ – The use of steam-bent, cornered ‘upright’ storage boxes is universal on the northwest coast from Vancouver Island to Alaska. Since pre-contact the designs have evolved to become highly stylized, but very traditional layouts. It is speculated that because these boxes were such an inter-tribal trade item the designs were intentionally rather obscure in their figurative identification as they would be appropriate for any family or clan to use no matter where you were from. My interpretation of these box designs is that one side represents a bird or animal crest and the other side is a human form. The bird side if identified by the asymmetrical ‘salmon trout’ main face eyes, large open mouth with down-swept beak-like lips, wing-like feathers below the ‘face’ and feather-like areas above the head. The opposite, or human side, is shown with human face eyes, human-like nose and mouth and human hands below the central face. The ‘chest’ area of each box design has abstract filler faces done in red form line.
The old box which these designs are taken from dates from circa 1875, possibly older, and is painted in ‘native’ hand-made pigment with a salmon roe base or bonding agent. There is no collection history on the box, but I would speculate that it may be Tsimshian tribe in origin. The lid of the box is made from a solid slab of wood which has been hollowed and recessed into the top of the box. The oval areas on the lid represent the inlays of ‘operculum’ shells which are part of the’ red turbaned’ sea snail. The best old boxes usually have these inlays.”
Notes from DaVic Gallery: This unique Limited Edition print collection, of same print number 142 of 200, by John Livingston is sold as set only that includes:
- “Northern Box Study. Circa 1875. Human Design”
- “Northern Box Study. Circa 1875. Bird Design”
This Limited Edition silkscreen prints titled ‘Northern Box Study. Circa 1875. Bird Design’ and ‘Northern Box Study. Circa 1875. Human Design’ by John Livingston were published in March, 2004. It was hand produced by the screen-printing process. It is the only limited edition printing of this design. The artist was involved in the printmaking, checking the stencils and signing each copy in the edition: 200 signed and numbered copies, 20 artist’s proofs, 1 printer’s proof. 3 Hors de Commerce copies exist and are defaced and all other trial copies have been destroyed and the printing stencils obliterated.