Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Covered Box 26382

Artist

Ambroise St. Aubin family, Known as the Bear Family,attributed to Maliseet Nation of the Wabanaki Confederacy

Title

Covered Box

Creation Date

1834

Century

early 19th century

Dimensions

6 1/2 x 11 1/4 x 7 1/8 in. (16.51 x 28.58 x 18.1 cm)

Object Type

implement/tool

Creation Place

North America, United States, Maine

Medium and Support

birch bark and split spruce root

Credit Line

Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine

Copyright

This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.
This oval box represents the material culture of Wabanaki people—Abenaki, Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot—living in what is now Maine and Canada’s Maritime Provinces. Attributed to the Maliseet Nation, it is made from the bark of white or paper birch, which continues to be a reliable and useful material that Wabanakis use to craft an array of objects. The double-scroll motif on this box, a typical Wabanaki design, was scratched into the soft fibers to reveal the lighter bark within. The skill needed to create this form attests to the artistry of Wabanaki craftsmanship. Beginning in the seventeenth century, European explorers and settlers marveled at birchbark’s versatility and Native Americans’ use of the material. Inscriptions on the inside cover includes the date 1834 and “Bought of Dr. Bear[s] [?] of Prospect,” providing a rare reference to the Native family associated with the box’s origins.

Additional Media

Additional Image 3/4 side, end and top
3/4 side, end and top
Additional Image opposite side
opposite side
Additional Image inside box and lid
inside box and lid
Additional Image side
side

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