Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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yaasiik “box”
Language: Chugach Sugpiaq (Prince William Sound dialect)

They shape it and make a cover for it out of the same material…Birch tree – you could bend it, so it was soft wood, taken from the tree soft. Then it hardens up, it dries up, and it forms like this.

—Ignatius Kosbruk,, 1997

Covered boxes were made by heating and bending thin planks of wood, to hold water and food for kayak journeys and household storage. Hot rocks could be added to the box to bring its contents to a boil. This bentwood box from Prince William Sound has a tight-fitting lid and is scored and painted in geometric patterns.

Culture: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Region: Prince William Sound, Alaska
Village: Nuchek
Dimensions: Height 18cm
Accession Date: 1894
Source: William J. Fisher (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E168637