A strong and powerful symbol of boreal majesty, the bear provides an instant connection between humanity and nature. They serve as a representation of the warrior, hunter, fisher, and mother. They can be portrayed in a docile, serene state, indicating a peacefulness in woods and forest or roaring to display their ferocity and danger.
With dozens of types of bears, the kind of bear indicates various climates, terrains, and locations. An image of a polar bear is an obvious tribute to the North, their natural habitat, and the harsh conditions that shape the population. A polar bear conveys an admiration of the snow and mountains that pervade the geography. Brown and black bears are more widely spread and can be found around the globe. Brown bears are the most ubiquitous, with populations scattered in nearly every continent. Brown bears are often used in children’s fables as pedagogical figures and sometimes as humans in disguise.
More exotic is the sun bear, a type of bear indigenous to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia. Because the live in tropical climate, they do not hibernate, making them unique from other bears. Their coloring is also distinct, with a band of orange fur drawn across the chest, which creates an interesting image. The giant black and white panda is another type of unique bear as they are completely vegetarian, eating only bamboo. Because of their climate, they do not hibernate either.
In many ancient cultures, the bear was worshipped as a representation of one’s ancestors who have passed on. In North American Indian and First Nations’ culture, the bear is a symbol of a liberated spirit, free to roam as he or she chooses. The bear is the symbol of the warrior, calm and collected until provoked. For the Cree, the sight of a bear is the omen of a good hunt.
Bears are a strong symbol of motherhood as well. The female bear is left solely by the male after mating to rear the young, defending them with her life, even against attacking male bears.