RUFUS MOODY, C.M., QUEEN CHARLOTTE ISLANDS/HAIDA GWAII, Skidegate, Haida Gwaii
LIDDED BOX, ALL FOUR SIDES RELIEF CARVED WITH FROG IMAGERY & INSET DETAIL, THE FEET OF THE VESSEL CARVED AS INDIVIDUAL FROGS ALSO WITH INSET EYES
argillite, abalone shell
signed in Roman
5 ins x 8.5 ins x 9 ins; 12.7 cms x 21.6 cms x 22.9 cms
One of three generations of Haida artists, Rufus Moody began carving in the 1940s in the style of his grandfather, Thomas and father, Arthur. Working primarily in argillite from Skidegate, which he mined himself, Moody created a variety of intricate works, from relief carved totem poles to model longhouses. In the 1950s he began to carve on a larger scale. His work is admired internationally and appears in museums, private and corporate collections.
While the Haida have been carving argillite for trade since the 1820s, mostly as panel pipes and model totem poles, carving argillite boxes began in the 1880s and were inspired by the larger bentwood boxes from the northern part of the Northwest Coast.
This ingenious work from Moody combines both skill and design. Each side is carved with a different design and each has inlaid abalone shell to highlight the eyes, including the lid which depicts faces seemingly arranged around a drum or blanket. Traditionally, frogs were carved on house posts to prevent them from falling down. This piece utilizes frogs to uphold all four corners of the box.