Magnificent and haunting, the tall cedar sculptures called totem poles have become a distinctive symbol of the native people of the Northwest Coast. The powerful carvings of the vital and extraordinary beings such as Sea Bear, Thunderbird and Cedar Man are impressive and intriguing. In clear and lively prose, Hilary Stewart describes the various types of poles, their purpose, and how they were carved and raised. She also identifies and explains frequently depicted figures and objects. Each pole, shown in a beautifully detailed drawing, is accompanied by a text that points out the crests, figures and objects carved on it. Historical and cultural background are given, legends are recounted and often the carver's comments or anecdotes enrich the pole's story. Photographs put some of the poles into context or show their carving and raising.
I bought it as a souvenir of my visit to the Pacific Northwest, but I wish I had had it for reference while I was there!