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Soapstone bowl


Height: 21.600 cm

AOA 1896.1.25.1

Room 26: North America

    Soapstone bowl

    British Columbia, Northwest Coast, North America
    Marpole phase of the Strait of Georgia Tradition, about AD 1-900

    The basic elements of Northwest Coast culture, such as the exploitation of marine resources (shell fish and salmon), and even concepts of rank and hierarchy, are likely to have been established more than 2,000 years ago. The Marpole phase in the development of Northwest Coast culture is characterized by the appearance of substantial numbers of woodworking tools and wooden artefacts, along with fishing and hunting equipment.

    This type of bowl, often of seated people with a snake running up the back, have been associated with girl's puberty rituals or with the shamanism known in the historic period.

    This particular bowl was found washed up on the beach at Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, in 1895.

    J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)


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    On display: Room 26: North America

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