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This information was automatically generated from data provided by MOA: University of British Columbia. It has been standardized to aid in finding and grouping information within the RRN. Accuracy and meaning should be verified from the Data Source tab.


Dark brown grease bowl carved in the shape of a bird. The bird's head and tail extend beyond the oval bowl, at either end. There is a small frog carved in the beak of the bird at the very front. A bird face is carved on the top of the tail and design elements are carved along the sides.

History Of Use

This small dish held oolichan or seal oil and is now saturated with food oils.

Iconographic Meaning

This archaic bowl is both typical of classic, northern-style grease dishes and unique to the carver’s vision. For guests, this bowl could hold stories of the relationship between humans and the natural and supernatural worlds. It is animated through the unity of sculpted form -- with the raven’s wings, tail, and beak projecting outward -- and two-dimensional engraving. The frog appears about to be eaten yet ready to leap forward, while the raven’s tail features the transformative face of a bird-like being with a recurved beak.

Specific Techniques

The bowl is unpainted, and gained its dark patina and polish through oxidation as it passed through multiple hands over generations of use.


This bowl was likely carved with steel and iron tools then acquired by the Tlingit through trade. Purchased by Elspeth McConnell from the George Terasaki Collection (New York) and bequeathed to MOA in 2017.

Item History

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