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Model of canoe [.1] decorated with carved bear prow and painted with animal designs, with two paddles [.2, .3]. [CAK 16/06/2009]

Longer Description

Model of canoe [.1] decorated with carved bear prow and painted with animal designs, with two paddles [.2, .3]. The boat is decorated all over with painted animal and geometric designs in black and red. The paddles are also painted with geometric designs in black and red. The boat has four transverse seating planks in the central section of the boat. [SM 18/08/2008]

Primary Documentation

Accession Book Entry - REV. C. V. GODDARD, Baverstock Rectory, Salisbury. Carved and painted model of Haida dug-out boat with 2 paddles. 10/- ... Pd by cheque 11 July 1911 £1-7-6

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

Written on object - HAIDA boat-model PACIFIC COAST, AMERICA. Purch. 1911 (Rev. C. V. Goddard) [SM 18/08/2008]

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 model canoe and paddles were viewed alongside other models on Tuesday Sept 15, 2009. Delegates identified this model as being made from alder wood, or possibly red cedar. The dimensions of this model were noted as being slightly odd, and Jaalen Edenshaw though this was an 'interpretive' rather than an accurate model of canoe. As a building guide, the true ratio for a canoe model is 1:9. One suggestion is that the canoe is the model of a head canoe. It was further noted that drawings and paintings of head canoes were made after contact, but that that no head canoes were built after this time. The other suggestion was that this is not a sea-going vessel, but a ceremonial canoe sent out to greet people upon their arrival to villages or before or after other boats in battle. It was noted that the elaborate style of such a canoe indicated that it was not meant for long journeys, but was a vessel of luxury or for things greater than travel.
A hole for the mast of a sail was identified, prompting delegates to talk about the use of sails, made from either canvas or cedar bark, which could be rolled and stored when not in use. Comparisons were drawn to the rolling of the cedar mat viewed previously [1891.49.108].
The flat-ended paddles were said to be used for steering, although the design of the boat - having such a large bow - would make it very hard to steer. War canoes and sea-going canoes were said to have higher gunwales and therefore required longer paddles to manoeuvre them. Personal fishing boats, in contrast, can be operated with shorter paddles.
In terms of the iconography on the canoe, delegates thought there was an eagle depicted on the lower front side of the model. They identified the carved figure as a bear. The dots painted in the mouth of the head near the front of the boat were characterised as an older way of depicting teeth. It was thought that the green pigment used was from a natural mineral present on Haida Gwaii.
While handling this model, Diane Brown began to discuss information shared with her from her father and how in some older canoes poles were laid out on the floor of the vessel for long journeys. The poles would protect the men's feet and their belongings from becoming water-logged by the unavoidable and unbailable level of water in the boats. The poles would be kept in place until the canoes reached the beach. Once at the beach, the poles were removed and laid out on the sand and then the canoe could be rolled along them above the high tide mark on the beach. The name of the poles was therefore two-fold, and when speaking about them, people would change what they were called immediately upon their removal from the canoe and placement on the beach.
It was noted that Haidas were accustomed to packing their canoes full with their belongings as they travelled from camp to camp.
Jaalen Edenshaw was uncertain that this canoe represented a typical Haida design, however other delegates spoke of the vessel as though it were a Haida canoe. [CAK 12/05/2010]

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, 24/01/2008]

Item History

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