Tlingit Octopus/Land Otter Pendant by Shawn KarpesTlingit Octopus/Land Otter Pendant by Shawn Karpes
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Tlingit Octopus/Land Otter Pendant

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with display frame
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"Guardians, healers, mediators, and spiritual warriors are just a few of the symbols represented by a traditional shaman's paraphernalia. "The octopus- ever changing colour, texture, and shape- squeezes into small, impossible spaces. With a bird's beak and sucking mouths on eight arms, he drifts through the sea realm in a liquid black cloak. Natives call him 'Devilfish.' He is the bizarre spectre lurking below the water's surface, dwelling where unknown creatures and countless stories come, enter, and return from. "The land otters, travellers, between the worlds of land and sea, have the gift of transformation. Pursuers of drowned souls and the lost, they can appear as someone you know, or as a stranger. Staying in shadows to hide their black eyes and otter teeth, which they can't change, they try to entice people to go with them, to become one of them. They cloud minds and trick the unwary. Dogs and metal can protect against land otter magic. "The shaman who obtains these powerful helpers must show respect and control rituals so as not to offend the Otter People. They can be vengeful. "Brave faces appear on objects to remind, confront, communicate, and seek understanding. Moving into the path of great mysteries- spiritual, mental, physical sicknesses; death; representing birds, animals, sea creatures, and spirits, they connect the shaman to other realms. They also represent the shaman's years of learning- biology, psychology, sociology, songs, rituals. "I have portrayed the octopus with a humanoid mouth and a bird's beak. The two land otters on his brow are transforming into octopi. Maybe the octopus himself is a changed land otter...? "These are just a few words that I can use to describe the complex cosmos of the shaman." -Shawn Karpes

Artwork Information

Location Canada
Region Northwest Coast
Artist Shawn Karpes
NWC Nation N/A
Date Created 2003
Dimensions 3" high
Materials & Edition yellow cedar, paint

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