Makah Cultural and Research Center Online Museum

Symbolism

Here is symbolism carved into wood and bone. In this way, artists created an invisible link between the realms of the supernatural and the everyday. They gave form to the unseen.

The Makahs knew the yearly return of whale and fur seal and salmon, the rich carpet of halibut on the banks offshore, clams under the sand and mussels on the rocks, the woods and roots and berries of the forest. They found this world of land and sea and life tied to the world of the spirits. Carvings and songs expressed the interrelationship. Their inspiration came through dreams and visions. Their meanings were personal, intended for display and recognition, not for analysis. Each family had its own source of supernatural power, its own way of proclaiming that power.

Dancer

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All content for this exhibit is © Makah Cultural and Research Center.

The Community Museum is a project of community organizations and Tribes across the Olympic Peninsula, and the University of Washington.
Support for the project comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Preston, Gates and Ellis, LLP.