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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.


Model canoe with five figures and four paddles. The boat is long, narrowing toward the ends, wider at midpoint. The outer walls of the canoe are painted in designs of red, black and green. Five benches span the width of the canoe’s interior. The figures are painted with black hair, eyes and brows, with red on the bodies and green faces: three human figures with mask-like faces, and two figures that appear distinctly bear-like. The paddles are painted with black, red and green bands.


The artist who carved this miniature of a great northern canoe may have been an expert maker of the monumental version. It features the distinctive style of projecting bow and high stern, and emulates the flared and tapered lines that would be achieved in a full-size canoe by steaming and spreading open the dugout log. Typical of canoe miniatures, however, it is made with shorter proportions and is carved, not steamed. The origins of this miniature are unknown. This example spent years hanging in a collector’s house in Nova Scotia before it once again entered the market and returned to the west coast. Whether the maker was Haida or Tlingit remains another unanswered question: the canoe itself is Haida in style, but could have been carved by a Tlingit artist, while the five passengers resemble others with Tlingit provenance. The painted imagery, moreover, has been “claimed” stylistically as both Haida and Tlingit by artists who have recently studied the canoe at MOA. Comparative research with other objects of similar age, imagery, and paints may help support a more definitive attribution in the future.

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