Monday, December 28, 2009

Salish Spindle Whorl

It has been a busy Christmas season, hence a lack of blogging. However, we purchased a special item this year, a drum made by Richard Aiscaican who makes superb drums. His attention to detail marks him as a master drum maker. Check out the photo of the sides and back of the drum where you can see the patterns created from the even application and pressure between the sinew and the drum skin.

The image on the drum is painted by Joel Good a Snuneymuxw member. It is based on a Salish spindle whorl, a crouching naked figure (needing warm fabic?) with two sea serpents wolves facing each other at the top (edited to reflect Joel's correction -thanks Joel). This is from the Snuneymuxw creation story. Apparently sea serpents are more common in the Nanaimo area than elsewhere. The mouth of the human would be where the spindle shaft would be inserted.
Below is a picture of a similar whorl design from the Canadian Museum of Nature. The Snuneymuxw First Nations Band Council uses the spindle design as a logo as can be seen in the photo of the Band Office window on the web page describing spindles.


  1. What a great addition to your collection, Liz -- very appropriately-decorated drum, obviously, for a spinner. Will you now be adding drumming to your long list of competencies?

  2. I do a lot of sea serpent whorle's however that design is actually two wolves and a man its the snuneymuxw creation storry.