Assignment 1 – Reading Material
Most of my extensive internet research has been recorded on each post as I’ve gone along, additional internet addresses are recorded on my two storyboards next to the photographs I’ve used from the sites.
The numerous libraries in my Shire had only one theoretical book that I could source relating to totems, unless I spent days scouring all the literature on Australian Aboriginal beliefs and customs which I had already done on-line and at the museums.
The picture on the right, from the book, shows an intricately carved pole and these were considered to be the most spectacular achievement of these artists. This one features a raven at the top and other figures important in a clan’s mythological history.
They have carried their totem designs into blankets and clothing keeping the simplified, structured and layered look of the creatures as if they were still working on a long narrow pole. On this woven blanket numerous interpretations of the bear can be seen, both large and small, intermingled within the geometric shapes.
Whatever personal or clan totem creature has been adopted it is depicted both by carving traditional ceremonial poles and by being interwoven into practical everyday items. Perhaps the thinking is that the more in evidence the creature, and the more reverence they give it, the more it will protect them.
My friend Judy told me about the book ‘The Clan of the Cave Bear’ by Jean M. Auel. It came from my library as an audio book, unabridged over 20 hours and 10 minutes. Whilst it is a novel, the detail of clan life and the importance of totems within the Cave Bear clan was compelling.
This is the first book in a set of six, collectively entitled the Earth’s Children Series, and is set around 30,000 years ago. A full write-up of the book, and the rest of the series, can be read by clicking on the hyper-link in this paragraph. For anyone with the staying power it is a fascinating and absorbing read.
Don E Beyer, The totem pole Indians of the Northwest. 1989. No publisher acknowledgement. Printed in the United States of America. ISBN 0-531-10750-7
Jean M Auel, The Clan of the Cave Bear, Hodder & Stoughton, London. 1980.