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Bentwood Boxes/Chests

Bentwood Chest

Haisla or Coast Tsimshian, Central or Northern Coast, British Columbia, ca. 1840-1860


Learn more about Bentwood Boxes and Chests

Before the introduction of nails by Euro-Americans, the First Nations peoples of the Northwest Coast employed a remarkable technique for the construction of wooden boxes and chests. Bentwood containers are manufactured from a single plank of wood that is first tooled with an adze until smooth and flat. Fine grooves are then cut across the grain at the location of the three corners, and a rabbet joint is cut at one end. The plank is steamed to soften the wood fibers and then bent at the grooves. The plank ends are either sewn with root fiber or fastened with wooden pegs. The bottoms were attached separately with pegs.


Large painted and carved chests were used to store and protect ceremonial objects and hereditary dance accoutrement of family lineage chiefs. The masks, rattles, carved frontlets and woven or painted robes contained in these chests were brought into public view only on important ritual occasions. Large chests also served as stately seating for house and lineage chiefs, and other important guests at feasts and potlatches. According to Indigenous belief, the carved and painted designs acted to protect the chests contents.


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Category: Bentwood Boxes/Chests

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Results: 13

Bentwood Chest N4387

Bentwood Chest

Haisla or Coast Tsimshian
Central or Northern Coast, British Columbia
ca. 1840-1860
Inventory # N4387
Blanket Chest N4398

Blanket Chest

attributed to Du’klwayella (Captain Richard Carpenter, 1841-1931)
Heiltsuk
Central Coast, British Columbia
ca. 1900
Inventory # N4398
Bent Corner Box N3809

Bent Corner Box

Haida or Tlingit
Northern British Columbia
ca. 1750
Inventory # N3809
Chief’s Chest CN3616

Chief's Chest

Haida or Tsimshian
Northern British Columbia
mid 19th century
Inventory # CN3616
Chest N3664

Chest

Haida
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
Third Period (ca. 1865–1910)
Inventory # N3664
Chief’s Chest N4377

Chief's Chest

Tsimshian
Northern British Columbia
ca. 1840-1860
Inventory # N4377
Sold
Bent Corner Chest N1100

Bent Corner Chest

Haida or Tsimshian
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia
ca. 1850
Inventory # N1100
Sold
Bent Corner Chest N1868

Bent Corner Chest

Bella Bella
Northern British Columbia
ca. 1870
Inventory # N1868
Sold
Bent Corner Chest N3274

Bent Corner Chest

Haida or Tsimshian
Northern British Columbia

ca. 1850
Inventory # N3274
Sold
Shaman’s Box N4348

Shaman's Box

Haida or Tlingit
Northern Northwest Coast

ca. 1780-1820
Inventory # N4348
Sold

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