Bark buckets

Yámana (Yaghan), 19th century AD
From Tierra del Fuego

Bailers from the tip of the New World

These buckets are excellent examples of the resourcefulness and woodworking skills of the Yámana (Yaghan) people of Tierra del Fuego. The bark from which they are made was extracted from the extensive beech forest that covers the Fuegian archipelago. Bark buckets were used as containers for a variety of functions, including bailing out seawater from seagoing canoes while fishing or when travelling between the islands. The Yámana also made beautiful and versatile reed baskets, which they used to gather and store food.

Living in the harsh environment of Tierra del Fuego at the southern extremity of the Americas, the Yámana numbered perhaps ten to fifteen thousand at most. They are now all but gone. Their way of life was wiped out by the diseases and the social problems that characterized much of the contact between the Old World and the New.

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More information


C. McEwan, L.A. Borrero and A Prieto (eds), Patagonia: natural history, pr (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

S.K. Lothrop, 'The Indians of Tierra del Fuego' in Contributions from the Museum, Vol. X (New York, Heye Foundation, 1928)

P. Dransart, 'Fuegia basket or the life of a basketmaker in Tierra del Fuego' in Basketmakers: meaning and form, Monograph 5 (Oxford, Pitt Rivers Museum, 1992)


Height: 20.000 cm (6252)
Diameter: 15.000 cm (6252)
Height: 20.000 cm (6252)
Diameter: 15.000 cm (6252)

Museum number

AOA Ethno 6252;AOA Ethno 407a


Gift of the Royal Geographical Society
Gift of Henry Christy


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