The killer whale figures prominently in Haida arts and cosmology. During potlatches stories are told or reenacted with masks and other visual props depicting animals and lineage crests. Through these presentations, the social order is illuminated and validated, as are the privileges and authority of high-ranking members of the community. Stories and information about ownership and rank are specific to each object, making precise interpretations of older objects difficult in the present.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.