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"Raven Releasing the Sun"
Todd Jason Baker
(20"x26") Limited Edition Silk-Screen Print Of 225
Released from a
box by Raven, the Sun Chief inhabited the sky and it was believed he could
be reached by climbing a chain of arrows. He descended by sliding down its
long rays. The Sun is often carved on totem poles and masks, and sits atop
the tallest totem in the world (Alert Bay, British Columbia). It represents
life abundance and its warmth radiates healing and peace.
In the beginning there was no moon or
stars at night. Raven was the most powerful being. He made all of the
animals, fish, trees, and men. He had made all living creatures. But they
were all living in darkness because he had not made the sun either.
One day. Raven learned that there was a chief living on the banks of the Nass River who had a very wonderful daughter who possessed the sun, the moon, and the stars in carved cedar boxes. The chief guarded her and the treasure well.
Raven knew that he must trick the villagers to steal their treasure, so he decided to turn himself into a grandchild of the great chief. Raven flew up on a tall tree over their house and turned himself into a hemlock needle. Then, as the needle, he fell into the daughter's drinking cup and when she filled it with water, she drank the needle. Inside the chief's daughter, Raven became a baby and the young woman bore a son who was dearly loved by the chief and was given whatever he asked for.
The stars and moon were each in a beautifully carved cedar box which sat on the wood floor of the house. The grandchild, who was actually Raven, wanted to play with them and wouldn't stop crying until the grandfather gave them to him. As soon as he had them Raven threw them up through the smoke hole. Instantly, they scattered across the sky. Although the grandfather was unhappy, he loved his grandson too much to punish him for what he had done.
Now that he had tossed the stars and moon out of the smoke hole, the little grandson began crying for the box containing the sunlight. He cried and cried and would not stop. He was actually making himself sick because he was crying so much. Finally, the grandfather gave him the box.
Raven played with the box for a long time. Suddenly, he turned himself back into a bird and flew up through the smoke hole with the box.
Once he was far away from the village on the Nass River he heard people speaking in the darkness and approached them.
"Who are you and would you like to have light?" he asked them. They said that he was a liar and that no one could give light. To show them that he was telling the truth, Raven opened the ornately carved box and let sunlight into the world. The people were so frightened by it that they fled to every corner of the world. This is why there is Raven's people everywhere.
Now there are stars, the moon and daylight, and it is no longer dark all of the time.
email artist for large high quality image or purchase
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Legend of the Raven, word doc
"Raven" arrived yesterday-- and it was well worth waiting for. He's
I'm eagerly looking forward to your new "Wolf" print. I'd love to be notified when it's available.
Thanks again-- you can definitely add me to your list of fans.
Raven most important of all creatures to the coast Indian peoples was Raven. It was Raven--the Transformer, the cultural hero, the trickster, the Big Man (he took many forms to many peoples)--who created the world. He put the sun, moon and stars into the sky, fish into the sea, salmon into the rivers, and food into the land; he maneuvered the tides to assure daily access to beach resources. Raven gave the people fire and water, placed the rivers, lakes and cedar trees over the land, and peopled the earth.
Full of magical, supernatural power, Raven could turn himself into anything at any time . He could dive beneath the sea, ascend into the sky , or make anything happen by willing it. His legendary antics were often Motivated by insatiable greed, and he loved to tease, to cheat, to woo, and to trick . but all too often the tables were turned on the hapless Raven.
In the past, Raven was probably portrayed more often, and in more ways, than any other creature of legend. Today, Indian carvers, jewelers and print makers still hold a fondness for the wily Raven, and feature him often in their works of art.
Raven is distinguished by a fairly long, straight beak having a blunt or short turned-down tip, and usually a tongue. A sun disk in the partially open beak is a reminder that Raven flew with it in his beak and tossed it into the sky to bring light to the world. the moon or fire also can be represented by a circle in Raven's beak.
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