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Carved and Inlayed Spiral Pipe Stem

Arts of the Americas

On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Visions and Myths of a Nation, 1800–1890
The Jarvis Collection of Native American Plains Art

The articles in this case and the adjacent clothing case are some of the earliest and finest Eastern Plains pieces in existence. They were collected by Dr. Nathan Sturges Jarvis, a military surgeon stationed at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, between 1833 and 1836. He purchased some of the objects, while some may have been given in exchange for his medical services. These works display indigenous people’s ingenuity in combining trade materials such as cloth, metal, and glass beads with traditional hides, red pipestone, and porcupine and bird quills.
CULTURE Eastern, Sioux
MEDIUM Ash wood, lead
DATES early 19th century
DIMENSIONS 42 1/4 x 2 x 2 in. (107.3 x 5.1 x 5.1 cm)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Carved ash wood pipe in a spiral form. Decoration with lead inlays; a fish appears inside one of the spiral curves, and the flat section on the end has four thunderbirds inlaid on one side and two buffalo heads and two animals (bears?) on the other side. The spiral section is further decorated with burn marks from a searing tool.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.