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Model tikinagan, or cradle

1730/1750

British Museum

British Museum

This model cradle is constructed from a wood board, with a skin covering. The fringe of the skin covering is decorated with wrapped quills, and edged with ochre pigment, and the back with both blown and wire-wound glass beads.It was collected by John Potts, surgeon under James Isham, for the Hudson's Bay Company at York Factory, Manitoba, in about 1743. Isham drew a nearly identical cradle and commented that the Cree 'have no Notion of cradles for children as the English has, but use other methods, which seem's much better, they make a board....'This type of cradle was used through much of the north-east of North America, as well around the Great Lakes and north-eastern Plains. Elsewhere in the Subarctic cradles were constructed of birchbark; or babies were swaddled in bags filled with sphagnum moss, a material which is not only absorbent, but has disinfectant qualities, ideal as a nappy (diaper) substitute.This is from the collection of Sir Hans Sloane, whose collections first formed The British Museum. He corresponded with fur traders and even acquired an Arctic fox, which he kept at his home in Great Russell Street (next to what is now The British Museum), to see whether it would go white in winter.

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  • Title: Model tikinagan, or cradle
  • Date Created: 1730/1750
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 37.50cm; Width: 15.75cm; Depth: 6.00cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Technique: carved; painted; sewn
  • Registration number: Am,SLMisc.2040
  • Place: Found/Acquired Hudson Bay
  • Peoples: Made by Northeast Peoples. Made by Cree
  • Other information: Cultural rights may apply.
  • Material: wood; skin; glass; horse hair
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Bequeathed by Sloane, Hans. Collected by Potts, John
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