Spider Clan Totem

November 2016

Palm Desert, CA

Tsa ho pa (Wah-Zha-Zhi [Osage] Native American Spider Clan Totem – sculpture name is “spider clan” in Osage) Tsa ho pa is a 9’ high, 9’ wide and 0.75’ deep welded steel depiction of the Osage nation’s Spider Clan Totem. The base is 2’ wide x 5.5’ long and would comfortably fit on an existing concrete pad.

Project narrative: Tsa ho pa’s intent is to honor the Osage nation.

The tribal history and tradition of the origin of the spider totem: “The Osages divided themselves into gentes (clans). Each gens (clan) chose a symbol for life - one that was strong, beautiful and courageous - of which they and their future generations would be proud. However one of the gens was negligent in choosing a symbol, so that when they began their search all but the coyote, skunk and a few other undesirable animals were
taken. Therefore this gens’ members went out on the trails to search for a symbol they could use.
As the leader walked along, he walked into a spider web. Clearing it from his face he said: “You little black thing, why do you build your house over the trails and cause us to run into them?” The spider said: “For what are you searching that you cannot see where you are going?” and the leader said, “We are looking for a symbol for our gens, so get out of our way.”
The spider then said, “ Why not take me as a symbol for your gens?” The leader put his hand over his mouth so that the spider could not see him laughing, while his people behind him tittered. Then he asked the spider: “Why do you think you would make a good life symbol
for a gens of the great Osages?” The spider answered: “Where I am, I build my house and where I build my house, all things
come to it.”
(adapted from the Osage Nation Museum web site: http://www.osagetribe.com/museum/info_sub_page.aspx?subpage_id=2)

Project materials: the sculpture and base are fabricated of MIG welded 1/8” carbon steel plate. It is painted with several coats of catalyzed deep red automobile enamel. The 2’ wide x 5.5’ long base is painted with black catalyzed automobile enamel.

Installation: the base would be bolted to the concrete pad with 3/8” diameter x 5” long concrete anchors.

Life expectancy: Tsa ho pa would be structurally unaffected by climate changes, heat, cold or UV light. The automobile paint will last at least 25 -35 years, after which it could be easily repainted. There are no special ongoing requirements and no needs for access to electricity, water, etc.

Required maintenance: routine maintenance – keeping the grass cut around the base, removing organic detritus, and removing bird droppings that might accumulate would be all that would be required.

Fabrication / Installation Photos

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