Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge


Carving knife

t’áa shuxáshaa “straight knife”
Language: Lingít

It’s easy to take a whole [part] off if you slip just a little bit and your blade is sharp all the way, so they dull the edge along the blade. They’re just using the tips to take out the carving. I wonder, before they had Western contact or metal, how they used to get in and do that really fine, intricate work.

—Donald Gregory, 2005

Tlingit carvers of the past produced an amazing variety of intricately ornamented boxes, bowls, spoons, fish hooks, clubs, tools, panels, masks, rattles, and house posts. A carver’s tool kit would include one or several knives with short, straight metal blades like this one as well as knives with curved blades for shaping hollows and curves.

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Alaska
Village: Wendegastock
Object Category: Tools
Dimensions: Length 24.5cm
Accession Date: 1916
Source: Archer V. Martin Collection
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 050420.000