These works are hand-painted and design features may vary.
Indigenous artwork on the Pacific Northwest Coast often incorporates figures and animals that are related to crest symbols. Crests have been passed down through families and have varying meanings depending on the context and association with a nation, clan, or family. The figures depicted in contemporary Northwest Coast Indigenous artwork also have varying meanings but there are some common characteristics from a range of sources, including oral histories and artist descriptions.
Appearing rarely in artwork as a crest, Seal does make appearances in the oral traditions of the Northwest Coast. Among the Kwakwaka’wakw, the chief of the undersea world (Kumugwe/Komowa) is also known as the “Protector of Seals”. As Seal relates to Kumugwe, it can also be viewed as symbolic of wealth and plenty. As a traditionally useful resource, seals provided not only food, but also oil as a fuel source, and warm, waterproof hides. Seal is recognized by round features, flippered feet, and often alongside Salmon. Seal is often used as a bowl motif.