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Song Carrier, Soul, and Man-That-Becomes-The-Moon (Transformer)

David Horsley

Beaver Lake Park

A trio of cedar house posts impart Coast Salish culture.

David Horsley. Houseposts: Song Carrier, Man-That-Becomes-The-Moon (Transformer), and Soul, 1993/1997. Carved and painted cedar. Beaver Lake Park, Sammamish, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com

Some of the last old-growth cedar logs to come out of the Snoqualmie National Forest were used to create three Coast Salish house posts by artist David Horsley, which can be seen in Beaver Lake Park in Sammamish, WA.

Indigenous to the Puget Sound region, house posts were originally carved from the interior vertical beams that supported the longhouses where the area’s First Peoples lived. They represented the process of reincarnation, passing down family stories over time. Longhouses in Seattle sometimes grew to more than 1,000 feet long as generations built new additions—with more house posts telling more stories.

House posts are teaching tools. The stories can take months to tell and a lot of them have a moral at the end. They cause people to learn about themselves—and to learn about their tribe. –David Horsley, The Seattle Times, 1991
Carved and painted in red, black and white, Horsley’s house posts depict several Salish stories, guided by direction he sought from the Sdukʷalbixʷ (Snoqualmie) Tribal Council. Soul shows the journey of the soul through Drum, Otter, Tuhstuhd, Hail, Songs, Frog, and Wolf. Man-That-Becomes-The-Moon (Transformer) uses Eagle, Mountain Goat, Elk and Deer symbols to represent the Transformer, a pre-eminent spirit-being that often appears as more than one being.
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David Horsley. The Man that Becomes the Moon (Transformer), 1993. Carved and painted cedar. Beaver Lake Park, Sammamish, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com
David Horsely. Song Carrier, 1997. Carved and painted cedar. Beaver Lake Park, Sammamish, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com
David Horsley. Song Carrier (detail), 1997. Carved and painted cedar. Beaver Lake Park, Sammamish, WA. King County Public Art Collection. Photo: joefreemanjunior.com

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Beaver Lake Park


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