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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Maker(s):Anonymous
Culture:Native American; Inuit Nunangat (Northern Canada--Nunavut, northern Ontario, Newfoundland, Labrador, Northwest Territories); Northern Alaska and Little Diomede Island
Title:Spoon
Date Made:1800s-1900s (likely)
Type:Food Service
Materials:wood
Place Made:United States; Alaska
Measurements:8 3/8 in.; 21.2725 cm
Accession Number:  SC 1984.35.9
Credit Line:Transfer from Smith College Science Center
1984_35_9a.jpg

Description:
This wooden spoon features intricately carved floral designs on its handle and spoonbowl--front and back. The designs signal that an Inuit artist created the item to look like European silverware while using scrimshaw, a uniquely Inuit form of decoration. Prior to European arrival, Inuit individuals created metal spoons and other dining implements from meteorites. However, many stranded European explorers likely deposited silverware in the Artic, which were then integrated into Inuit communities beginning in the 1500s. After the permanent arrival of Europeans (in the forms of missionaries and traders) during the 1700s-1800s, European goods became common in Inuit households. Signaling a melding of European and Inuit customs, this spoon may have been sold to tourists or European settler colonists as a "curio," or possibly used by an Inuit individual. AP2018

Tags:
spoons

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=SC+1984.35.9

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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