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Wooden club carved in the form of a sea lion with handle. [CAK 27/04/2009]

Longer Description

Wooden club carved in the form of a sea lion with handle. The end of the handle is flat and round with a perforation near its centre (it is unclear if this was done before or after arrival at the museum). The handle has a slightly wider butt end, tapering in where it would be held in the hand (circumference = 104 mm), and then tapering out slightly again where it meets the decorated portion. The handle is smoothly carved in the round. Rear flippers characteristic of 'formline design' are visible on the top of the club, on both sides near the handle. There is also a small tail visible on the top portion of the club between the rear flippers. The club is long and rectangular, though the edges are all rounded (circumference = 220 mm at its largest). Midway along the club on either side are two front flippers characteristic of 'formline design'. Forward of these, near the top of the club are outlines of ears(?) on either side as well as two eyes. The bottom of the club is plain except for three and a half squares carved in line with the eyes, just before the start of the mouth. The squares all line up and abut against each other. The mouth is inset slightly and two rows of teeth are outlined, with spaces between the teeth being carved away. The snout is slightly smaller/narrower and the nostrils are found on either side of the club near the top. The snout/mouth end of the club is squared and blunt. The club is recorded as being used for killing fur seals. [CAK 27/04/2009]

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 club was viewed alongside other tools on Monday Sept 14, 2009. Christian White identified the figure as a sea lion. Candace Weir wondered if it was a wolf or dog, but Christian thought not because it does not have legs. He was uncertain what kind of wood the club was made from. Jaalen Edenshaw identified the wood as yew wood because of the nature of the knots in the wood. Other delegates proposed that it could be crab apple wood. Delegates also observed that sea lions are big and would require something heavy to club them with, but that this club is surprisingly light. Billy Yovanovich wondered if the marks under the chin were a tally of successful hunts, i.e. the number of sea lions of seals killed. [CAK 12/04/2010]

This object was viewed and confirmed as Haida by tribal members Vincent Collison, Lucille Bell, and Kwiiawah Jones on 7 September 2007 in preparation for a planned Haida community visit to PRM in 2009 [L Peers, 21/01/2008]

Primary Documentation

Accession book entry (for 1891.49.39 and .40): 'From Rev. Ch. Harrison, 80 Halton Rd, Canonbury Sq. N. Collection of Haida objects collected by him.... - [1 of] 2 seal clubs, carved. £45. [Purchase price includes 1891.49.1-110]

No additional information on catalogue cards. [JC 4 9 1996]

Written on object - Club for killing fur seals. Haida. C. Harrison coll. (MS No.17) Purchased 1891.

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]

Item History

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