The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture has done some research on the Seattle Seahawks’ beloved and Native-inspired Seahawk logo, and you don’t have to be an expert to conclude they’ve found the exact piece it was modeled on.
The story, “Searching for what inspired the Seattle Seahawks logo,” was posted to the museum’s blog this week. It was known that the NFL designers who came up with the image had consulted books about Northwest Coast art, but Curator Emeritus of the Burke Museum, Bill Holm, said he was not personally consulted by the designers. Nonetheless, he had a book in his possession, Art of the Northwest Coast Indians by Robert Bruce Inverarity, published in 1950, that contained photos of the piece that must have served as the model. Scans from the book appear on the Burke Blog, and the profile of the mask, a Kwakwaka’wakw representation of an eagle, is strikingly similar:
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Of interest to art lovers — though not, perhaps, to football fans: The mask is a “transformation mask,” which means its eagle face opens up to reveal a human face. Here is the same piece, opened:
This story was originally published on January 30, 2014.