- Museum number
Circular vessel, widening from base to rim, made of birchbark; with upper border decoration in white, blue, yellow, red and black quillwork. Together with separate birchbark lid with similar border.
Diameter: 6 inches (lid, from Register)
Diameter: 6.25 inches (vase, from Register)
Height: 1.75 inches (lid, from Register)
Height: 6.50 inches (vase, from Register)
- Curator's comments
In the "British and Medieval Acquisitions [Register] 1837-45" entry (p.33), the lid is described as a "stand" (with "saucer" also pencilled). It also appears in British and Medieval Dept. Acquisitions, v.1 (4/1837-12/1844), p.68 as "Given by Dr.C.G.Farish of Nova Scotia. Made by the Micmac Indians in Nava Scotia of birchbark". It is not included in British and Medieval Extracts (1757-1887) Register and there is no Ethnography Department registration Slip. (AMD,4/1998).
The vessel includes three early paper labels. One, on brown notepaper reads "Work of the Micmac tribes of Indians in Nova Scotia from Dr. J. C. Farish of Nova Scotia, no. 15 Oxford St, Mile End." The second, on curled white paper is almost illegible, but reads "[illegible] Micmac Indians N. America". The third is another white paper label that reads "[illegible] Micmac. N. America" and is signed on the reverse "AWF" (Augustus Wollaston Franks).
The two saucers were published by Ruth Whitehead in 'Micmac Quillwork', 1982, p 15, with the following comment: '...Notice how they are decorated with oversewn lengths of porcupine quills, and with a mosaic of quills inserted into the bark. This may be indicative of the type of quill decoration once done on Denys' bark 'dishes''.
Nicolas Denys (d 1688) was a French Acadian whose 'Description and natural history' (1672/1908) includes mention of an early type of dish which may resemble this example: 'They made their dishes, large and small, of bark. They sewed them with the Fir roots so well that they held water. They ornamented some of them with quills of Porcupine'. Quoted by Whitehead, 1982, p 14.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1982-1987 Jun-Jan, Museum of Mankind, Thunderbird and Lightning: Indian Life in North America, 1600-1900
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number