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Thursday, December 26, 2013

More Pacific Northwest Canoe Items: Peabody Museum #5

This post, the fifth in a series on exhibits at Harvard University's Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnologyhighlights more canoe-related items from North America's Pacific Northwest. Earlier, the series looked at Baffinland InuitAleut, other Alaskan Eskimo, and other Pacific Northwest exhibits. Quotations in the photo captions are from the exhibit display cards.


Chinook canoe model
The Chinook people traditionally lived along the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington. "The form of the canoe existed in the eighteenth century (and probably earlier), but the presence of glass beads in the design suggests that the model dates to the early nineteenth century. Had it been made earlier, sea otter teeth would have been used in forming the decorative patterns." (Click any image to enlarge.)
Model of a Tlingit or Haida "head" canoe
Tlingit or Haida canoe model, collected about 1849. Both groups traditionally lived around the present-day border between British Columbia and Alaksa. "The style of this vessel is called a 'head canoe.' It is only known from models, since it went out of fashion in the early nineteenth centry. This model is probably made of yellow cedar and has an unsual beak, perhaps relating to a Thunderbird, although it could signify any of a number of creatures. The rest of the design is also ambiguous."
Bow detail of a model Tlingit or Haida "head" canoe
Detail of the bow of the head canoe in the previous photo, showing two "head" images, one painted, the other painted and carved.
Coast Salish adze
Hand adze from the Quinault group of the Coast Salish people of western Washington state. "The adze is a principal wood-working tool among Northwest Coast Indians. Traditionally the blade was made of stone, but steel substituted in the eighteenth century. The handles of these tools, however, show strong continuities in form and decoration through time. The handle of this D-shaped adze is carved out of whalebone, while the blade is cut down from a small ax head. The lashings may be of twisted whale or sea lion sinew....(P)robably dates to the early nineteenth century."
Clayoquot canoe bailer
Canoe bailer from the Clayoquot region of British Columbia, collected before 1905. "Bailers of square form were common among the Westcoast Indians... It once had attached to it a handle of twisted cedar withes."
Nootka paddle, Tlingit or Chugach bow and arrow
Left: Canoe paddle, yew wood, collected in Nootka Sound, 1794. "Standard Westcoast features include the delicate form of the blade, the square cross-section of the grip, and the separately carved handle attached by pegs. The surface of the paddle is blackened with pitch and oil. A wrapping of kelp...served as both a grip as well as a pad where the paddle rubbed against the gunwales...."  Center and right: Bow, quiver, and arrow; either Yakutat Tlingit or Chugach Eskimo, prior to 1905. Sea otters remained abundant in Tlingit country in the 19th century, after they had been virtually exterminated in other areas of the Pacific Northwest. Although guns were in common use there, "(b)ows and arrows continued to be used for hunting sea otter, because of their silence. One gunshot would scatter a herd."   
Grips of Nootka paddle, Tlingit or Chugach bow and arrow
Details of the grips of the paddle and bow in the previous photo.

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