Decorated with a group of crests around the bowl that include a bear, this elaborately carved ladle is made from the horn of a big-horned sheep, which was softened by boiling until it opened up and could be carved.

It would have been used to serve candle fish or seal oil by a chief of high rank at 'potlatches', feasts celebrating the events of the life cycle. The object is one of the eight works attributed to the Haida, one of the indigenous people of British Columbia, acquired by the Art Fund in 1949. It came from Haida Gwaii or the Queen Charlotte Islands, off the coast of Western Canada and was part of a large and varied collection of 30 works of ethnographic art, formed by W. O. Oldman, which the Art Fund presented to the nation on account of its 'exceptional merit'.


Mr W O Oldman.

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