Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Bentwood bowl

k’áagaan “wooden dish”
Language: Haida

My mother also used to go to Watun River for red huckleberries and I went with her. She’d bring the berries home and cook them with salmon eggs for thickening. She boiled them until they were dry. She put the berries in a bentwood box…

—Florence Davidson, 1982, from “During My Time: Florence Davidson, a Haida Woman,” 1982

The hosts at a clan feast served salmon, seal oil, cranberries, crabapples, huckleberries, and other foods that had been harvested from the group’s exclusive territories for hunting, fishing, and gathering. The food was presented to guests in beautiful bentwood bowls, like this one collected in 1908 on the Queen Charlotte Islands. All four of the intricately carved sides are a single piece of wood, steamed and bent in order to wrap around the solid wood bottom.

Culture: Haida
Region: Louise Island, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia, Canada
Object Category: Ceremony
Dimensions: Length 46cm
Accession Date: 1908
Source: Thomas Crosby (collector)
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 018106.000