Spoon Item Number: 1954.9.91 from the Pitt Rivers Museum
Wooden spoon with long handle and flat bowl or scoop. [CAK 23/06/2009]
Wooden spoon with long handle and flat bowl or scoop. Carved from a single piece of wood, the handle is long and rounded. The bowl or scoop is flat on the top and has a slight convex curve on its underside. The scoop widens from where it joins the handle to its end. [CAK 23/06/2009]
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 spoon was viewed alongside other wood and horn spoons on Wednesday Sept 9, 2009. It is one of three soapberry spoons. The spoons are used for whipping up soapberries. The process of whipping the berries produces a foaming mousse. The mousse would then be mixed in the mouth. This was characterised as an elegant skill, and soapberries were said to be an acquired taste. Candace Weir described how the mousse would be gassy once it was a foamy mousse and so it was necessary to suck air through the mouth before swallowing. She provided the Massett Haida word for this: Xukatl'iit, which translate as sucking in or blowing out and can be used in relation to musical instruments (xukigang), or to describe the sound made when eating whipped soapberries. Delegates identified the wood as maple, though there was also one suggestion that it could be alder. [CAK 16/03/2010]
Accession Book Entry - 'MRS H. G. BEASLEY, WHITE BARN, SUNNINGDALE, BERKS. Specimens from the Cranmore Museum... 1954.9.91-93 N. AMERICA, N.W. COAST, HAIDA INDIANS. Three long narrow wooden spoons, used for eating "sopalille", nade from the soap berry. MASSET, NINSHINTS [sic] and TANOA VILLAGES. Lengths 38.4, 33.0, 35.1 cm. (17.4.23)'.
Additional Accession Book Entry - 'These spoons are labelled VANCOUVER B.C. but the villages given are those of the HAIDA (v. Handbook of N. American Indians). They may have been obtained in Vancouver. "Vancouver Collection, formed by Captain Pike RN about 1862."
There is no further information on the catalogue card. [CW 11 6 98]
Pre-PRM label - BEASLEY COLLECTION. VANCOUVER B.C. MASSET VILLAGE. SOPALILE SPOON. 17.4.23 [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 17/3/2006]
Pre-PRM label - MASSET [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 17/3/2006]
?Pitt Rivers Museum label - Three spoons used for eating "sopalillie", made from the soap berry, [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 17/3/2006]
Written on object - HAIDA d.d. Mrs. H.G. Beasley 1954.9.91 [El.B 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 17/3/2006]
Related Documents File - 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]