Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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k’aakanéi “deep dish”
Language: Lingít

On the faces you can see eyes, mouth and a beak – a hooked beak, and it’s hollowed through. It must be made of Dall sheep horn. It looks like a grease dish, that’s probably what gave it that dark brown color, and then over time, the aging.

—Donald Gregory, 2005

This dish for serving sea mammal or fish oil was made from the horn of a mountain (Dall) sheep. The horn was boiled, molded, and carved by traditional techniques. Images of owls or hawks appear on the ends. Speaking of these faces, Donald Gregory said, “If you look it has eyes and eyebrows like a human; when I first saw this sitting on a table, I thought it was a spirit.” Elder Peter Jack suggested that the fine carving meant the dish was probably reserved for special occasions or honored guests.

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Baranof Island, Southeast Alaska
Village: Sitka
Object Category: Housewares
Dimensions: Length 33cm
Accession Date: 1907
Source: Mottrom D. Ball (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 012147.000