Featured Slate Totem Pole

Discussion in 'Tribal Art' started by cxgirl, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    Hi All,
    I picked this up today to try and figure it out - it has a good size chunk out of the bottom so it was dirt cheap. Looking at the damage it looks to be made of slate or some type of stone, has REP carved into it. I couldn't find any of the holes that you see on resin pieces.
    Looking on-line I can find another one with the REP on it, said it is made of a lower grade slate than argillite, they don't know who made it.
    maybe @komokwa or @all_fakes you have seen these before and would have information on who or where they were made? I thought maybe Boma or Thorn but I can't find any pieces they made of slate.
    any information appreciated.
    thanks for looking:)
    DSCF7091.jpg DSCF7090.jpg DSCF7135.jpg DSCF7148.jpg DSCF7151.jpg DSCF7160.jpg DSCF7162.jpg DSCF7080.jpg
     
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  2. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    almost without exception a Haida Argillite totem pole is made from 2 pieces...the pole & the base.
    REP....means replica.....& can be made from a number of solid materials .
    The original work in this design is likely in a Museum.

    As for the chip...real Argillite does not fracture that cleanly.
     
  3. Hollyblue

    Hollyblue Well-Known Member

  4. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    thanks komokwa:) Have you seen pieces like this before? I see lots of the resin pieces but haven't come across something like this before so I'm just trying to find out who or where they would have been made.
    I've never seen argillite before so your tip on the clean break is good:)
     
  5. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

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  6. Hollyblue

    Hollyblue Well-Known Member

    @cxgirl

    I was just linking because your piece has many surface irregularities for a carved piece of stone. The Boma pieces are a resin composite which is a combination of resin and crushed/powdered stone.
     
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  7. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    thanks Holly, I'm familiar with Boma/Thorn/Aardvark pieces, see lots of them here, this piece isn't resin:)
     
  8. iPacific

    iPacific Member

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  9. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    thanks iPacific:) I at first thought BOMA/Thorn/Wolf etc but couldn't find any by those companies that did pieces like this, they used a marble/stone/resin compound. I've seen a couple of resin pieces broken and they don't look the same inside as this. With REP on it I thought it would be easy to figure out but I guess not.
    I don't think this is an original argillite piece, I'm just curious and trying to figure out when/where/who made this. Will keep looking and maybe something will pop up:)
     
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  10. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    There are a lot of copies I've yet to see....and many that I have.
    Older ones were made of a more stone like material .... ( urban legends have some being made with crushed or powdered argillite..)... and that crack looks right for that type of model.
     
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  11. antidiem

    antidiem Well-Known Member

    I also think this is an older one.
     
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  12. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    It is for sure a cast item; not BOMA or Thorn, though. If one had a carved argillite pole nearby, there'd be notable differences in the appearance of a detail carved in stone versus a casting; having to do with the crispness of the lines, and the degree of gloss in areas that are below the surface - those areas would not typically be glossy in a carved stone item ( as mentioned by others).
    There's no easy way to ID the precise maker; resources for manufactured souvenir-type items are pretty scarce. The very earliest cast totems, by BOMA and Jolin and others, would be dated to around 1965. Kiana was doing resin casts of souvenirs as early as the 1950s, but they were other types of items, plaques and such.
    I have seen these before, though; and I'd think that damage would pretty much destroy any value.
    As to materials, it is pretty much a myth that ground argillite would ever be an ingredient; but there are resins which have stone dust added, and are harder and more resistant to heat than one might expect; as well as compositions based on ground stone and plaster.
    I suspect this could be one of the hard resins, with added stone dust for hardness, leading to the kind of fracture pattern seen; but as mentioned there are a lot of possible casting compounds, and this isn't the plain resin often seen with BOMA for example.
    I'd date it to 1970-80, maybe even later; and probably made in British Columbia.
    PS, BOMA does have an online catalog of their current wares, for anyone who might be interested; https://www.panabosales.com/
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019 at 3:38 PM
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  13. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    upload_2019-3-14_16-56-57.jpeg

    that's what a real puppy looks like..........

    Ike Hans Argillite Totem Carved with Wasco and Bear Eating a Fish with a Fish At His Feet on a Stylized Frog Base 5 1/4" H. 1 5/8" W. Base Fine Condition

    PS....that's a Sea Bear not a Wasco.....
     
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  14. cxgirl

    cxgirl Well-Known Member

    thanks all_fakes:) No worries, I didn't buy it to resell, just bought it to figure it out, it was only a couple of bucks due to the damage. I've never heard of Kiana before, will have to look them up. I have a list of the different companies that made these souvenir pieces and try to get photos of their labels and/or marks. I'm also collecting the different labels/tags used on Indian/Eskimo to try and figure out time lines on them.
    Here is a large plaque I had a while ago, no marks but thought maybe BOMA, was very well done.
    DSCF2718.jpg

    DSCF2730.jpg
    thanks komokwa:) I had to look up Wasco
     
  15. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    Very nice plaque or plate, I'd guess Boma (BOMA, founded by Boris Magreb, an immigrant to BC, in 1965 - one of the few older companies still in business, though now a subsidiary of Panabo Sales).
    Kiana - I'd have to check my notes for specific dates, but they were one of the largest composition casting firms for totems; their products often distinguished by having a fake screw cast as part of the base. Earliest products were faux ivory plaques, in the 1950s; and finally in the '90s their equipment was sold to a company making the plastic parts for a line of Alaska-themed collectible dolls.
     
  16. Figtree3

    Figtree3 What would you do if you weren't afraid?

    Interesting information about all of these companies and items. I always appreciate reading this type of thread. Thanks to you all. :)
     
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  17. antidiem

    antidiem Well-Known Member

    me too! thanks!
     
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