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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.


Carved seal bowl. Oval shaped opening, seal head projects from one end, rear flippers from other end. Raised line carved around inside of the bowl’s cavity. Carved in low relief on the outside are stylized representations of flippers and joints. A solid carved line defines the seal’s eyelids. Varnish or stain over outer and inner surface, except on base.

History Of Use

Bowls such as this one were made and used by the First Nations of the northern Northwest Coast. They would typically hold the rich oil made from seal blubber or oolichan fish that is served to guests at feasts – a treasured condiment into which dried fish and meats would be dipped. “All of the guests except the greatest furnished their own trays and spoons,” noted ethnologist John Swanton in the winter of 1900/1901, describing the Haida feasts he witnessed; “Then the servants or slaves brought out food in trays and distributed it, beginning, of course, with the town chief.”

Item History

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