Thursday, March 1, 2012
Haida pipe, Northwest Coast, British Columbia, Canada
Like other north coast peoples, the Haida believed that the souls of the deceased traveled first to the sky world in their cycle of reincarnation. Both prayers and souls could be helped on their journey by means of smoke rising from the central hearth of the house or by smoke rising from pipes. Prior to European contact, the Haida used local tobacco. Pipe smoking became strongly associated with the extraordinary powers initially attributed to Europeans, particularly firearms, which not only smoked but brought instant injury or death. Many early pipes were made from the walnut of gunstocks and parts of gun barrels in order to capture and transfer the power of guns to pipes. On this wooden pipe with a brass bowl, the design represents Raven (with another bird's head on its tail).