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7 January 2011

Marvel at the British Museum Totem Poles

The towering Haida totem pole below, at the British Museum, is a certainly one of the most striking features in the Great Court at the centre of the building. It stands 39 feet high and was carved from a single cedar trunk.

Made by the native American Haida people of Kayang, near Masset, on Queen Charlotte Island in Canada, when Charles Frederick Newcombe acquired it for the Museum in 1903, it was already around fifty years old.

The pole, we are told, tells the story of the lazy son-in-law, and is topped off with a representation of the Haida house chief, holding his club. For more information see here or here.

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