Peter Macnair and Alan Hoover recount the history of Haida argillite carving since it began in the early 1800s, and they describe more than 200 examples from the extensive collection of the Royal BC Museum
Argillite is a dense, black shale mined from a quarry on Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), reserved for the exclusive use of Haida carvers. Argillite works are unique in style and character, ranging from ceremonial pipes and model poles to elaborate platters and chests.
“The careful scholarship of Peter Macnair and Alan Hoover has ensured that The Magic Leaves remains an authoritative text on the types, subjects and history of argillite carving. Argillite carvings made for the souvenir, ethnographic and fine-art markets maintained and developed indigenous stylistic and narrative traditions. The beautiful black slate of Haida Gwaii continues to be a vehicle for profound expressions of Haida history and artistic innovation. – Dr Martha Black, from the Foreword.