A rare and early Northwest California wood storage trunk
Lot 2037
A rare and early Northwest California wood storage trunk
US$ 15,000 - 20,000
£8,800 - 12,000
Auction Details
A rare and early Northwest California wood storage trunk A rare and early Northwest California wood storage trunk
Lot Details
A rare and early Northwest California wood storage trunk
Probably Western red cedar, the interior hollowed and with flat rectangular conforming lid fastened in three places by commercial twine, tapered towards each end and finished with deep grooves and incised zigzag bands, the hide ties a later replacement, heavily patinated from age and use.
length 29in

Footnotes

  • Little known and rarely seen, storage boxes like the present lot tended to be used for the keeping of ceremonial materials. Resembling the smaller elkhorn purse much in use throughout the Lower Klamath River area, they rarely show up in museums or collections. Known examples include those in the University of California's Phoebe Anderson Hearst Museum in Berkeley. Collected for the University in the early 20th century by anthropologist Alfred Kroeber and possibly Philip M. Jones before him, storage boxes, like the feather work and other regalia of the Hupa, Karok and Yurok peoples, were felt to be examples of a material culture that was rapidly disappearing.

    Photos of several taken in 1907, when the Museum was located in San Francisco, and again in recent times, can be seen in News from Native California, Winter 1994, pages 22 and 36.

    Another view sourcing the same collection is Isabel T. Kelly's 1930 article "The Carver's Art of the Indians of Northwestern California". Pictured in plate 118 are two storage containers much like the present lot: "The large wooden box in which dance regalia are stored follows the horn purse pattern closely. It has the same enlarged ends and occasionally the transverse grooves. Other than this the boxes are seldom decorated. One shown in plate 118c has a carved zigzag motif. The boxes are usually cylindrical although there is one rectangular in the Museum."

    Finally, the Siskiyou County Museum in Yreka, California has a photo of a young boy holding an open storage box. Credits indicate: "1930. Robert Halsted holding an Indian trunk made of redwood. Capell Cr. below Martin's Ferry on the Klamath River. Minerva Starrit photo from her family."
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