- Museum number
Kerfed and bentwood box, the sides of a single piece of yellow cedar [?], the bottom of red cedar, the fourth vertical seem sewn with sinew? and pegged; the corners at the rim also pegged with lead, missing at two corners.
- Production date
Height: 13.50 centimetres
Length: 11 centimetres
Width: 9.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Ron Hamilton (12/9/1995) commented on the box that the design is of high excellence, although the execution of the design, particularly in the cleanless of the lines, is less good. The particular design feature lies in the extreme elaboration of the eyes and ovoids. One mammal head has long ears, suggesting a wolf, behind it to the right seems to be a configuration which includes flukes at the top and a flipper at the bottom; next side shows another mammal head, more bear like than wolf; the fourth side has abstract designs surmounted by the large upside down eye form, that is pointed upwards suggesting that this is also a whale fluke. So it seems to represented one or possibly two sea monsters, Wasco. (Noted by JCK 12/9/1995, plus additional description etc.).
Although quite small the box has a great elegance and lightness of touch; this is achieved by reducing the bulk of the base by excavating the interior slightly, and the exterior by scooping out a square area which follows the edge of the box. The sides are also carved very thin, but a broad lip or edge is left at the top of the box. The final point about the box form is that the tops of one pair of opposite sides are carved with convex edges, and the other pair with concave edges. The base is pegged to the sides in two places with wood pegs. The sides of the box are expertly and interestingly carved in low relief with formline designs; two opposing sides seem to have the same large mammal head, treated rather differently. The other two sides have apparently entirely abstract designs, but the whole thing could form a depiction of a single crest. That the design represents a single creature is suggested by the placement of a large ovoid/eye form at the top of one of the abstract sides - upside down - suggesting that the four sides be read as a single unit.
There is a box of very similar design and decoration in the Gerber Collection at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle (No. 25.0/244) Although the decoration on the Gerber box is not identical to the British Museum example, there are enough similarities to suggest that the boxes were either made by the same carver or that one was used as a template for the other.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1998 1 Mar-24 May, BM Room 35, BP Ethnography Showcase: The Return of the Museum of Mankind
2014 1 Nov-2015 22 Feb, London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, "From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia"
2017 23 Feb-27 Aug, London, BM, "Where the Thunderbird Lives"
- Acquisition date
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: Am1896C3.1210 (old CDMS no.)