The Tlingit people are renowned for their fine workmanship in wood carving. While totem poles are perhaps the largest and most well-known of their carving feats, Tlingit carvers also focus artistic efforts on ceremonial objects such as staffs, masks, rattles, and bowls.
Possibly made before Europeans reached Alaska more than 200 years ago, this Tlingit feast bowl would have held food at a potlatch. It is made of steamed, folded wood and decorated with intricate carving, paint and inlaid opercula. Potlatch feast dishes were made of tasteless, odorless alder; however, the bottom of this bowl is made of a cedar plank secured with strong spruce root, suggesting that it may not be the original base. The sculptural elements and asymmetric designs add to this bowl's uniqueness.