A Tlingit soapberry spoon
Lot 5206
A Tlingit soapberry spoon
Sold for US$ 46,360 inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Property from the Muchnick Milliren Collection
A Tlingit soapberry spoon
The thin cylindrical handle carved in relief on the upper section in abstract animal imagery, with elongated spatulate blade worked in shallow formline representational incisions.
length 17 1/2in


  • Provenance:
    Purchased from Donald Ellis Gallery, Dundas, Ontario, May 1996; Sotheby's, New York, 30 November 1995, lot 185, from a private collection, New England; formerly on loan to the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester MA; appeared in the exhibit Northwest Coast Indian Art Tradition: Collected Heritage, Grace Hudson Museum, Ukiah, CA, 6 September – 23 November 2003

    This is a very fine soapberry spoon. There are massive early style formlines on the blade, representing some creature I can't identify. Great old formline creature(s?) on the handle. It would take some guesswork and more detailed pictures to identify the figure on the blade, but I believe the figure on the handle is a sealion, with large clawed flippers and ears. It is probably Tlingit.
    - from a personal communication with Bill Holm

    In a letter of 31 March 1998, Steve Brown identifies this spoon as having been carved by the artist who carved two of the ones exhibited in the Native Visions exhibition, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA, 19 February - 10 May 1998; (see Fig. 3.6 on p. 29 of Brown, Steven C., Native Visions: Evolution in Northwest Coast Art from the Eighteenth through the Twentieth Century). Very similar to two spoons that appeared in The Box of Daylight exhibition, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA, 15 September 1983 - 8 January 1984; see Holm, Bill, The Box of Daylight, 1983, the catalog of that exhibition.
    - collectors' notes
  1. Wes Sparling
    Auction Administration - Native American
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, 94103
    United States
    Work +1 415 503 3408
    FaxFax: +1 415 503 3300
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