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Rectangular wooden feast dish with carved decoration on the outside and inlaid along rim with otters' teeth or operculum shell. [MJD 24/08/2009]

Display History

This object was featured in the Museum's in-case text produced during the DCF-funded 'What's Upstairs?' project, 2004–2006. [BR 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 2/11/2005]

Longer Description

Rectangular wooden feast dish with carved decoration on the outside and inlaid along rim with otters' teeth or operculum shell. The sides are made of a continuous piece of red cedar wood with bent corners. The corner joints are cracked. The base is made of a separate piece of yellow cedar wood attached with wooden pegs. The sides of the box are carved in an abstract animal design and painted with red pigment. [MJD 24/08/2009]
Constructed of five separate pieces of wood fitted together to form box with raised sides. Edge of box is inlaid with white otter's teeth. Exterior is incised with configurative design. [NM 10/3/97]

Publications History

This object was featured in the Museum's ‘web gallery' (‘Selected Objects from the Lower Gallery') produced during the DCF-funded ‘What's Upstairs?' project, 2004–2006, with the following caption: 'This large rectangular container held grease and berries. It was a feast dish, rather than ordinary tableware. The dish is decorated with carvings and inlaid shells. It was made some time before 1890.[BR 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 9/11/2005]

Primary Documentation

Accession book entry (for 1891.49.94 - .107): 'From Rev. Ch. Harrison, 80 Halton Rd, Canonbury Sq. N. Collection of Haida objects collected by him.... - [One of] 14 Carved wooden grease boxes of various sizes. £45. [Purchase price includes 1891.49.1-110]

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

Written on object [in pencil] - REV C H HARRISON 1891 [KJ 27/08/2009]

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]

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 dish was viewed alongside other wood and horn dishes on Wednesday, Sept 9, 2009. Delegates were very enthusiastic about this feast dish. Nika Collison thought it was very clean for a grease bowl, and wondered why it wasn't more greasy. Gaahlaay (Lonnie Young) and Christian White thought it could have been used for dried foods. Vernon Williams Jr noted the use of black and red pigment on the dish. Vince Collison characterised the design as a basic design that has been played with. Nika Collison thought the red formline indicated the hand of a master carver, although the cross hatching was deemed to be of a lower quality. She noted the double outside lines are often attributed to Charles Edenshaw, though another delegate added that the thick lines are typical of Albert Edward Edenshaw. The designs on the vessel were identified as beaver, raven, fish, sea lion and crab. The inlays were identified as opercula. Jaalen Edenshaw identified the wood as cedar, and Christian White further clarified that the sides were yellow cedar whereas the base was red cedar. Gaahlaay observed that there are both wooden pegs and metal nails, however he thought the box would have been made before nails were common and wondered if they either stole the nails off of a boat, or if it had been nailed at a later phase in its existence. A request was made for detailed photographs of the design elements and particularly the eye designs. [CAK 13/05/2010]

Item History

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