Artifacts

Canoe Bowl
ITEM: NMEMG 1923_3_1
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This bowl carved from red cedar wood resembles the shape of the Northwest seagoing canoe, reflecting the importance of canoes to the Haida. The bowl illustrates the form of a canoe with flaring sides and finlike projections. The edges of the bowl, or the bow line, reflect the canoes design to cut into waves. The shape of the bowl with high ends and low sides is a characteristic of bowls from the Northwest. It was likely to be used as a fruit bowl.

The detail is artistic and the abstract carving is likely to be a representation of an animal or a creature in mythology, however the image is not complete enough to show identification. However, it appears that the animal on the side of the bowl is a bird. It is said that important elements are enlarged for emphasis, and this is shown through bird’s two large eyes. The shape of a beak suggests the bird is an eagle or raven, both birds are symbolic to the Haida.