Artifact of the Month
Artifact of the Month: February 2024 (1 of 2)

Silver Engraving

Ketchikan Museums is pleased to announce the purchase of an engraved silver pendant and bracelet made by Tlingit master artist Norman Jackson. The pendant was made in 2017 and features a Killer Whale design. The bracelet, featuring a Raven and Coho design, was created in 2023. The purchase of both pieces was made possible through the generous support of the Rasmuson Foundation and Museums Alaska's Alaska Art Fund grant program that allows museums around the state to purchase contemporary Alaskan art.

Engraved silver pendants and bracelets are classic jewelry pieces that are popular in Ketchikan for showcasing Indigenous crest designs to share cultural identity. Ketchikan Museums only has a few examples of engraved silver objects in the collection to reflect this tradition. The pendant and bracelet are the first pieces made by a Tlingit artist, the first Ketchikan artist, and the first contemporary pieces. The pieces are additionally meaningful as Norman Jackson has been both a student and instructor in the Native Arts Studies Program offered at the Totem Heritage Center. There has been a resurgence of student requests for silver engraving and Norman's work will be used for both teaching and inspiration.

Norman states that his art is, "Tlingit style. It's bold and round. I try to keep it to the traditional level of Tlingit art. It is spiritual, and it has to fit together with the history and the dance. The dance has its connection with the art. If the public understood the art, then everybody would understand our people. That's why I learned that you have to share the art." The pendant honors the traditional designs while bending the formline to make the composition more abstract. The cuff bracelet showcases Norman's traditional roots with the classic Raven formline design. The integration of the Coho Salmon and salmon eggs highlights the importance of balance and negative space in formline design.

Object ID #: 2023.2.81.1 and 2023.2.81.2
Click to Enlarge
Killer Whale Pendant by Norman Jackson, 2017 (2023.2.81.1)Killer Whale Pendant by Norman Jackson, 2017 (2023.2.81.1)
Raven with Coho Bracelet by Norman Jackson, 2023 (2023.2.81.2)Raven with Coho Bracelet by Norman Jackson, 2023 (2023.2.81.2)