Low relief cedar carving, 24 inches high
What is known generally as a “Copper” on the Northwest Coast is a shield-shaped or torso-shaped work in copper itself or wood, in various heights from miniatures as fringe on a skirt to works six feet or higher found sometimes in cemeteries as commemorative sculptures for prominent native people.
The “copper” generally signifies wealth or high standing, compared by some to a bank note representing great family or lineage wealth among the traditional peoples of the Pacific coast of Canada and Southeastern Alaska . There is a large body of published work on the meaning of the copper, and also many images of the artistic variations on this theme. "Tinah" is the Tlingit word for the “copper"
This shape is almost always characterized by not only the torso form, but also by the T-shape which trisects the entire image, sometimes with a face, animal or human, in the upper half. Many coppers feature a bear, bird or sea-monster image distributed across its surface. Because the copper is conceptualized as an actual human torso among some people I have taken pleasure in having this one feature the stylized forms of an actual human figure.
The drawing I have included here portrays my notion of a warrior “copper” - with Viking overtones - to be cut in steel and slightly bent down the vertical center. Yet to be done. Look carefully for eyes, nostrils and the mouth which forms the top of the trisecting T-form across the center, hands below.