Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)
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Looking at Totem Poles


  • Medium: softcover
  • Size: 9 × 6 inches, 191 pages


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.

Looking at Totem Poles is an indispensable guide to 110 poles in easily accessible outdoor locations in coastal British Columbia and Alaska. 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.

  • Foreword by Norman Tait
  • Published in Canada by Douglas & McIntyre
  • Published in USA by University of Washington Press
  • B&W photographs and illustrations

Hilary Stewart

(1924- )

Hilary Stewart is the award-winning and critically acclaimed writer of nine books on Northwest Coast First Nations art and culture. Her works have been internationally reviewed with unstinting praise and have established her credentials as a leading authority on the native cultures of the Northwest Coast

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Spirit Wrestler Gallery

47 Water Street
Vancouver, BC
Canada V6B 1A1

Toll Free: 1-888-669-8813
Phone: 604-669-8813


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3 blocks from Waterfront Station
Between Abbott St. and Carrall St.

Monday to Saturday, open 10-6
Sunday and Holidays, open 12-5