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Wooden spoon with handle which curves round with the end forming a complete ring; 3 equidistant projections on top. [EC 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 14/3/2006]

Longer Description

Wooden spoon with handle which curves round with the end forming a complete ring; 3 equidistant projections on top. The spoon has been carved from a single piece of wood. It has a thin handle and very wide, short bowl that comes to a point . There is also a ridge running along the middle of the underside of the bowl. The shape of the spoon may represent a skate (fish). At its widest, the bowl measures 85 mm. Where the handle joins the bowl, the handle is 18 mm wide. The handle is flat on top; its underside is more rounded. The tip of the handle tapers and curves to form a complete ring and three equidistant projections on the top. The handle measures 7 mm at the top. There are two labels pasted onto the top of the spoon, and three labels pasted on its underside. [CAK 06/04/2009]

Primary Documentation

List of Anthropological objects transferred from the Ashmolean to the Pitt Rivers' museum 1886. Asiatic, African, Esquimaux and American. [Vellum volumes] Volume I: Catalogue of the American collection in the Ashmolean Museum in 1884. Copied from by [sic] G. Rowell's M.S. with additions. 826 A carved wood (Birch wood?) spoon, made by North American Indians; the bowl being a good deal wider than it is long 3 4/10 by 2 inches, with a keel or ridge along the middle of the under side and which projects in front in a faint beak. The handle is a spiral curve in form [insert] backwards the end forming a complete ring [end insert], with three short equal distant projections on top, Length 4 6/10 inches, From the Trustees of the Christy Collection, 1869?, and probably in exchange, but not entered or figured in Mr Frank's list stuck in this book. (Not in list of donors 1836 to 1868 presented).
Additional entry in Vellum volume I - Trans to Anthrop. Mus. Feb 10th 1886 (826).
Stuck in vellum volume [before page 2 of volume I] - Feb 10th 1886 Transferred to Anthrop Mus 2nd section Received the above numbers [listed] HN Moseley

Ashmolean Accession book entry - Objects transferred from the Ashmolean Museum to the Pitt Rivers Museum in 1886 or later: 826. ?N.W. America, ?Haida. Carved wooden spoon with large broad beaked bowl. By exchange, Trustees Christy coll. 1869

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

Pre-PRM label [glued to object] - Ashmolean Museum [MJD 01/04/2009]

Pre-PRM label [glued to object] - Two labels, on the front and back of the spoon, reading: "826" [EC 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 14/3/2006]

Pre-PRM label [glued to object] - A North American Indian Spoon. Trustees of the Christy Collection [illegible number or word; [1]869? [1]860?] [EC 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 14/3/2006]

Pre-PRM label [glued to object] - Birch wood (?) spoon. N. American Indian. Given by the Trustees of the Christy Colln. 1869? Not entered [...] any list of donations. [EC 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 14/3/2006]

Written on object - N. AMERICAN INDIAN CHRISTY COLL. 1886.1.826 [EC 'DCF 2004-2006 What's Upstairs?' 14/3/2006]

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 03/06/2010]

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 spoon was viewed alongside other horn and wood spoons on Wednesday Sept 9, 2009.The shape of the spoon was identified as a skate, which is a crest of the Ts'iit Gitanee clan. The handle represents the curved tail. Delegate Lucille Bell is from the Ts'iit Gitanee clan and took many photos of herself with the spoon. The word for skate is ts'iitaa. Most delegates thought the wood was alder, though it was also suspected that ‘birch' on the label could be accurate given how tight the grain of the wood is. Crab apple was also given as a possibility.
The style of the spoon was thought to represent a departure from the usual Haida style. Aside from a skate, a few delegates thought that is was perhaps made to represent a fern, plant or crayfish. It was noted that some daggers had a leaf shape, most likely influenced by European designs found on trading vessels. Delegates wondered if the spoon could have been taken to a potlatch as a fashionable accessory. [CAK 16/03/2010]

Item History

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