Recognized for its short and dramatic life cycle, the Butterfly is often symbolic of change and renewal in Northwest Coast artwork (Dawkins). In some Haida stories, Butterfly is Raven’s companion who leads Raven to food sources or uncovers the hiding places of treasure and luck (Shearar).
Butterfly is a minor crest figure and sometimes appears simply as decoration because of its beauty and grace. The Butterfly is an increasingly popular symbol in Northwest Coast jewellery. Some artists such as Robert Davidson and Susan Point, for example, have created modern aesthetic innovations of Butterfly motifs in their work (Shearar).
Artistic Characteristics of the Butterfly
Butterfly is recognizable in artwork by its short and segmented body, double rounded wings, and curled proboscis. Commonly mistaken for a Dragonfly or Mosquito, Butterfly’s body is much shorter and eyes less prominent (Dawkins). The Butterfly is also depicted with a humanoid face in some art pieces (Shearar).
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