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Rectangular box [.1], made of a single board of wood, with painted designs on sides and bevelled lid [.2]. [MJD 5/5/2009]

Longer Description

Rectangular box [.1], made of a single board of wood, with painted designs on sides and bevelled lid [.2]. The box is made from red cedar and has painted designs in red and black formline of Kuugin Jaad (Mouse Woman) as well as the Chief of the Undersea World. Kuugin Jaad can be found in the central lower portion of the front and back of the box, outlined in a black pentagram. Above her are abstract face designs with one side having eyes with double ovoids inside and the other side having eye forms with single salmon trout head ovoids. The sides of the box have faint remnants of black and red paint. The four sides are of similar dimensions, being taller than they are wide. The lid of the box is not original and fits inside the box. The base is plain and of the same width and depth as the box. The box would have been used to store food or possibly to transport grease. [CAK 04/02/2010]

Primary Documentation

Accession Book Entry - 7 May Glendining Auction Rooms... (Lot 180) Rectangular box made by grooving and bending round a single board of wood, to form the sides, painted. HAIDA, QUEEN CHARLOTTE ID, N. W. AMERICA. £1-15-0 Pd by cheque 9-17-0

There is no further information on the catalogue card. [CW 8 6 98]

Written on object [.1] - Box with sides made from a single plank, grooved and bent around to form the angles; pegged to flanged base; with thick bevelled lid. HAIDA, QUEEN CHARLOTTE ID Pur. 7.5.1935 (Glendining) [MJD 05/05/2009]

Written on object [inside .1] - 6 Hydaburg [MJD 05/05/2009]

Related Documents File - A comparison of the grooving and bending techniques used to make this box and 1952.5.39 is discussed on Tape 1, time 36:05 and time 40:08 in the Haida Project RDF. The Haida Project Related Documents File contains video of research sessions and interviews with Haida delegates from September 2009 as part of the project ‘Haida Material Culture in British Museums: Generating New Forms of Knowledge'. It also includes post-visit communications that discuss object provenance. For extensive photographic, video, and textual records documenting the Haida research visit as a whole, including but not limited to preparations of objects for handling, travel logistics, British Museum participation, transcribed notes from research sessions and associated public events held at PRM, see the Haida Project Digital Archive, stored with the Accessions Registers. Original hand-written notes taken during research sessions have been accessioned into the Manuscripts collection, in addition to select other materials. [CAK 02/06/2010]

Research Notes

The following information comes from Haida delegates who worked with the museum's collection in September 2009 as part of the project “Haida Material Culture in British Museums: Generating New Forms of Knowledge”:
This box was viewed alongside other bentwood boxes on Thursday Sept 10, 2010. Christian White identified the wood as being red cedar and believes the box was used to store food, or possibly to transport grease. He noted the box would be corked with bracket fungus. Christian identified the Chief of the Undersea World design on the box, and also commented on some of its unique stylistic features including thin formlines and thin eyes. Billy Yovanovich identified Kuugin Jaad (Mouse Woman) as one of the designs painted on the box and shared one theory that explains the geometry of box designs as representing red and white mushrooms, under which Kuugin Jaad lives. The eyes in particular may be helpful in linking this box to other pieces by the same artist and various delegates commented on the double eye motif as unique. The sides of the box in general were deemed to be most helpful in identifying the artist. Responding to this box, Christian White explained that Old Massett was a "box and boat factory", and emphasised how these two kinds of objects were linked: boxes were part of canoes, used for storage and as seating during voyages. Boxes could also be used for flotation.
Natalie Fournier, in response to this box, recalled one of her relatives having a tall wooden box that still smelt of the salmon kept in it.
One of the delegates believed the narrow formline indicated the box was quite old.
Delegates agreed that the lid was not originally made for this box.
This box was also used to compare the kerfing and bending of box 1952.5.39. Whereas the kerfed joints of 1952.5.39 form 45 degree angles, this box had the expected 90 degree joint. [CAK 04/02/2010]

Item History

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