Fish hook

This type of steam-bent fish hook is a characteristic hook among the Southern and Central Peoples of the Northwest Coast for catching halibut.

Royal Ontario Museum

Hemlock ? Wood ; Cedar root ; Bone
LENGTH 15.1 cm WIDTH 9.9 cm DEPTH 1.8 cm
939.31.17
©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.


CULTURAL CONTEXT : Fishing equipment ; this type of steam-bent fish hook is a characteristic hook among the Southern and Central Peoples of the Northwest Coast for catching halibut.

DESCRIPTION : The halibut fish hook is made of a rounded length of wood that has been carved to a point, steamed and bent. It has split cedar or spruce root wrapped around the pointed end of the hook that would have held a spruce or cedar rope leader. The opposite end has a bone barb strapped to the hook; the bone is sharpened and juts at an angle into the center of the hook.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Northwest Coast

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Haida

CULTURE : Haida

NATURAL REGION : Queen Charlotte Islands

PROVINCE : British Columbia

PERIOD : late 19th Century

MATERIAL : Hemlock ? Wood ; Cedar root ; Bone

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Steamed ; Bent
CULTURAL CONTEXT : Fishing equipment ; this type of steam-bent fish hook is a characteristic hook among the Southern and Central Peoples of the Northwest Coast for catching halibut.

DESCRIPTION : The halibut fish hook is made of a rounded length of wood that has been carved to a point, steamed and bent. It has split cedar or spruce root wrapped around the pointed end of the hook that would have held a spruce or cedar rope leader. The opposite end has a bone barb strapped to the hook; the bone is sharpened and juts at an angle into the center of the hook.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Northwest Coast

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Haida

CULTURE : Haida

NATURAL REGION : Queen Charlotte Islands

PROVINCE : British Columbia

PERIOD : late 19th Century

MATERIAL : Hemlock ? Wood ; Cedar root ; Bone

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Steamed ; Bent

©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.

Rattle

The Raven rattle is used by chiefs in the context of initiation ceremonies and relate to assumptions underlying a chief’s position of authority.

Royal Ontario Museum

Wood; Paint
Length 32.5 cm Width 10.5 cm Height 11.3 cm
929.21.41
©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.


CULTURAL CONTEXT : Ritual; the Raven rattle is used by chiefs in the context of initiation ceremonies and relate to assumptions underlying a chief’s position of authority.

DESCRIPTION : This Tsimshian raven rattle is ornately carved with the figure of a frog joining a man’s tongue, the man is in a reclining position on the back of the raven. In its beak the raven carries a piece of wood representing day light. A bird-like figure with hooked beak faces the rattle’s tail. Painted black, red, green and brown, the underside of the rattle is a carved creature possibly representing a sea monster.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Northwest Coast

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Tsimshian; Nisga’a

CULTURE : Tsimshian; Nisga’a

NATURAL REGION : Nass River

PROVINCE : British Columbia

PERIOD : 20th Century, early

MATERIAL : Wood; Paint

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved

DECORATIVE TECHNIQUE : Painted
CULTURAL CONTEXT : Ritual; the Raven rattle is used by chiefs in the context of initiation ceremonies and relate to assumptions underlying a chief’s position of authority.

DESCRIPTION : This Tsimshian raven rattle is ornately carved with the figure of a frog joining a man’s tongue, the man is in a reclining position on the back of the raven. In its beak the raven carries a piece of wood representing day light. A bird-like figure with hooked beak faces the rattle’s tail. Painted black, red, green and brown, the underside of the rattle is a carved creature possibly representing a sea monster.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Northwest Coast

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Tsimshian; Nisga’a

CULTURE : Tsimshian; Nisga’a

NATURAL REGION : Nass River

PROVINCE : British Columbia

PERIOD : 20th Century, early

MATERIAL : Wood; Paint

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved

DECORATIVE TECHNIQUE : Painted

©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.

Maul

The hafted maul was used to drive wedges into logs to split-off wood planks.

Royal Ontario Museum

Stone; Wood; Skin thong
Length 64.5 cm Width 15.1 cm Depth 10.0 cm
912.20.29
©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.


CULTURAL CONTEXT : Woodworking tool; the hafted maul was used to drive wedges into logs to split-off wood planks.

DESCRIPTION : The maul consists of a carved wooden handle with a slight curve at the top, and a carved base to hold the stone head. Both the wooden base and stone are notched to accept the rawhide bindings securing the stone head to the maul handle.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Northwest Coast

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Wakashan

CULTURE : Kwakiutl ?

PROVINCE : British Columbia

PERIOD : early 20th Century

MATERIAL : Stone; Wood; Skin thong

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved; Pecked; Ground; Lashed
CULTURAL CONTEXT : Woodworking tool; the hafted maul was used to drive wedges into logs to split-off wood planks.

DESCRIPTION : The maul consists of a carved wooden handle with a slight curve at the top, and a carved base to hold the stone head. Both the wooden base and stone are notched to accept the rawhide bindings securing the stone head to the maul handle.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Northwest Coast

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Wakashan

CULTURE : Kwakiutl ?

PROVINCE : British Columbia

PERIOD : early 20th Century

MATERIAL : Stone; Wood; Skin thong

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Carved; Pecked; Ground; Lashed

©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.

Basket

Basket used for gathering foodstuffs or storage.

Royal Ontario Museum

Spruce root
Height: 16.5 cm Diameter: 18.2 cm
HN226
©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.


CULTURAL CONTEXT : Household article; used for gathering foodstuffs or storage.

DESCRIPTION : This basket is made of twined spruce root and is woven in two patterns. The top section of the basket is woven to create a geometric pattern around the rim in a band about 3.5 cm wide. The balance of the basket to its base is made of the fibre alternating in bands of about 1.5 cm to 2.0 cm in width of both natural colours and black. The basket would have probably been made for either gathering and/or storing foodstuffs or possibly personal items.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Northwest Coast

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Haida

CULTURE : Haida

NATURAL REGION : Queen Charlotte Islands

PROVINCE : British Columbia

PERIOD : early 20th Century

MATERIAL : Spruce root

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Woven

DECORATIVE TECHNIQUE : Painted
CULTURAL CONTEXT : Household article; used for gathering foodstuffs or storage.

DESCRIPTION : This basket is made of twined spruce root and is woven in two patterns. The top section of the basket is woven to create a geometric pattern around the rim in a band about 3.5 cm wide. The balance of the basket to its base is made of the fibre alternating in bands of about 1.5 cm to 2.0 cm in width of both natural colours and black. The basket would have probably been made for either gathering and/or storing foodstuffs or possibly personal items.

GEO-CULTURAL AREA : Northwest Coast

ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUP : Haida

CULTURE : Haida

NATURAL REGION : Queen Charlotte Islands

PROVINCE : British Columbia

PERIOD : early 20th Century

MATERIAL : Spruce root

METHOD OF MANUFACTURE : Woven

DECORATIVE TECHNIQUE : Painted

©1996 - the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Identify some traditional materials and manufacture methods utilized by Canadian Northwest Coast peoples
  • Identify some objects made by Canadian Northwest Coast peoples and their uses

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