unknownlate 19th century

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

This exquisite box represents the work of a master artist. The sides are constructed from a single plank: kerfed, steamed, and shaped to form three bent corners. The fourth corner and the bottom are secured with wood pegs. The specific function of this box is unknown but the finely carved human and stylized owl faces embellishing the sides suggest that it had a role in the display of wealth, rank and prestige.

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  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date: late 19th century
  • Physical Dimensions: w14.2 x h17.5 cm
  • Provenance: George T. Emmons Collection
  • Type: Bentwood Box
  • Rights: Royal Ontario Museum
  • Medium: Cedar, commercial cord
  • Length: 14.8
  • Accession Number Extent: Lieutenant Emmons (1852-1945) was a naval officer stationed in the Tlingit territory of Alaska where he acquired his first major collection of Northwest Coast artifacts. Emmons’ collecting career coincided with the interest by museums in the acquisition of First Peoples material culture. Given the fragility of the objects coupled with the prevalent view that Native cultures were disappearing, there was thought to be an urgency in amassing these collections. Over more than 50 years of collecting, Emmons acquired thousands of artifacts for major North American museums.
  • Accession Number: HN1178

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