by Johnathan Jacobson, Kwakwaka'wakw
red cedar, cedar bark, abalone, copper
17" tall x 20" wide x 12.5" deep
27” tall x 20" wide x 12.5" deep on stand
The Thunderbird is a mythical creature that is said to be the dominating force of all-natural activity. Located in the Pacific North Western Mountains, the Thunderbird creates booms of thunder by flapping his wings and shoots bolts of lightning from his eyes, when hunters got too close to his home. In this depiction, Thunderbird is transforming into a human.
By creating rainstorms he waters the earth, making it possible for vegetation to grow. He is said to be so large that his wingspan is as large as two canoes, and that he could easily carry a killer whale out of the water with his talons. Only the most powerful and successful chiefs and families use the Thunderbird in their crest.
Thunderbird resembles the Eagle but is distinguished by the two curved horns or Plumage on his head. Long ago Northwest Coast people pleaded to the Thunderbird for help in times of food shortage, and he helped, but in return requested that from then on he only be depicted at the top of a totem pole with his wings stretched out.
Jonathan Jacobson is a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, born in Kingcome Inlet, British Columbia, and currently residing in Fort Rupert. Jonathan loves creating traditional Kwakwaka’wakw style art, but also loves to experiment with contemporary carving techniques and color application, expanding the artform and creating his own signature style.
He is best known for carving large pieces, and is well known for his traditional Hamatsa Ceremonial Ravens and Crooked Beaks. It is very important to him to embellish the masks with hand finished cedar bark rope and cedar bark strands. The making of cedar bark rope is a laborious task, and is considered an art form in and of itself.