- Museum number
Boat, model made of wood.
Length: 13 centimetres
Width: 3.80 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- This tiny miniature depicts a northern-style canoe, a type produced in large numbers by the Haida people of the islands of Haida Gwaii and the Tlingit and Tsimhian peoples of the nearby Alaska/British Columbia coastline. This example was most made in Haida Gwaii by a carver in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century and sold via a dealer.
The miniature is neatly finished in yellow cedar, shaped by an experienced carver familiar with this design of canoe. As with all miniature canoes from this region, the bow and stern are not in proportion to the hull by comparison with a full-sized canoe. The canoe is undecorated except for a band of black and red painted decoration at the gunwales, executed in competent formline design.
The northern canoe design features a high bow and stern, broad midsection and vertical cutwater. On a full-scale canoe the bow and stern would usually be additions to the dug-out trunk, although on miniatures (as here) they are usual integral to the original piece. The design developed in the early nineteenth century, displacing the head canoe design. This change came in response to demands for otter furs from European traders; the new canoe designs were capable of carrying larger quantities of cargo and handled more easily in rough seas, reflecting the shift from military to commercial economic systems on the northern coast.
The exact circumstances under which this miniature was obtained are unknown, although its size and finish suggest it may have been made as a souvenir piece and/or toy.
(Jack Davy, 15/12/2016)
- Not on display
- Acquisition notes
- Acquisition details unknown.
- Africa, Oceania and the Americas
- Registration number