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Elegantly carved Haida bentwood bowl with unusual patina - Donald Ellis Gallery

Bent Corner Bowl

Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

ca. 1840–1860


width: 12 ½"

Inventory # CN3615

Please contact the gallery for more information.


Morton and Estelle Sosland Collection, Kansas City, MO


Donald Ellis Gallery catalogue, 2010, pg. 9

Related Examples

Brown, Steven C. Native Visions: Evolution in Northwest Coast Art from the Eighteenth Through the Twentieth Century.  Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998, pg. 81, pl. 4.34

Wooden bowls are among the most iconic works created by the Indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast of North America. Large bowls, occasionally reaching twenty feet in length, were used to display and serve food during the great gift-giving feasts known as a potlatch. In contrast, small water-tight bowls such as the present dish were most often made to contain individual or family portions of eulachon, a flavourful oil rendered from fermented candlefish widely considered a delicacy among the Indigenous peoples of British Columbia. The sides of these feast bowls, also known as grease bowls, were carved to bend inward to prevent the spilling of their precious contents. The present bowl is made using a remarkable technique characteristic employed among Northwest Coast peoples. Three grooves, known as kerf lines, are made in a single plank of wood which is then steamed to soften the wood fibers and bent at the grooves forming the corners of the bowl. The bowl is secured by a single seam at one corner fastened with wooden pegs or sewn with root fibre. A separate bottom is then attached in the same manner. Embellished with opercula shell inlay along the rim, this bentwood bowl displays highly stylized and masterfully executed formlines representing its owners’ family crests. 

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