Carved Spoon with Five Animal Heads
Arts of the Americas
On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
Every Northwest Coast family had a supply of spoons. Those for common household purposes were of the same shape and materials as feast spoons, though undecorated. Feast spoons such as this example were brought out, in the same way as fine china or best silverware in other cultures, when a family gave a celebratory feast or when visitors arrived from another village. The number of feast spoons was determined by the magnificence of the feast the family could afford. This Haida spoon was delicately carved from a single piece of goat horn and decorated with five animal heads, each with abalone-shell eyes. Before carving, the horn was steamed until pliable, bent into shape, and cooled in a mold.
Horn, mother of pearl
late 19th-early 20th century
Gift of Elizabeth Achelis
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Haida (Native American). Carved Spoon with Five Animal Heads, late 19th-early 20th century. Horn, mother of pearl, 7 1/2 x 1 15/16 in. (19 x 4.9cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Elizabeth Achelis, 52.4.3a. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 52.4.3a_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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This spoon is carved in one piece. The handle has five animal heads, very deeply carved and standing out along the handle. All the animals have abalone shell eyes.
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