Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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kt “bentwood box”
Language: Lingít

When you ask the clan leader, he would direct you to the correct person - canoe builder, house builder, or master carver. When the project is finished you would invite people. This would be the last payment. That’s when there would be spirit in it. It wouldn’t be done carelessly. For the spirit to be in it, you have to be careful to do things right.

—George Ramos, 2005

This masterwork of wooden box design may be Tlingit, Haida, or Tsimshian in origin. It has a tight-fitting “telescoping” lid to keep the contents secure. The carved and painted designs depict a single animal being, an ancestral crest of the lineage that owned the box. The design wraps around the sides and is best seen by viewing it from a corner so that the matching pairs of eyes, ears, and body parts can be seen. Crest boxes held ceremonial regalia, blankets, and clan treasures. Well-known master carvers were commissioned to create them.

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Gardner Canal, British Columbia, Canada
Object Category: Baskets, bags, boxes
Dimensions: Length 48cm
Accession Date: 1916
Source: Archer V. Martin Collection
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 050437.000