Object photography

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Object description

  • Haida artist
  • Pipe, before 1832
  • Argillite
  • Pacific Northwest Coast, Canada
  • L: 11 3/8 in, W: 1 in, D: 2 5/8 in (L: 28.9 cm, W: 2.5 cm, D: 6.7 cm)
  • Gift of Captain John Bradshaw
  • E3496


East India Marine Society Collection


This is a heavily ornamented pipe, intricately carved to depict many intertwined stylized figures, the majority of which are joined by the tongue. At least a dozen creatures, or parts thereof, are represented on the pipe, including an eagle, bears, ravens, whales, hawks, and a human. There is a great deal of open-work carving on the object, separating the individual creatures and helping to hide the path of the drilled stem. The pipe bowl is found toward the front, between the heads of a raven and a killer whale. The bowl is held firmly by the ears of these two creatures. Further Remarks: When the sea-otter population declined from over-hunting, Native artists sought to supplement their livelihood by carving novelty items and selling them to mariners. Argillite pipes-which were ornamental, and not intended for smoking-were among the earliest souvenirs. This pipe depicts intertwined eagles, bears, ravens, whales, hawks, and human beings. It is believed that Salem's Captain John Bradshaw obtained this classic example from another mariner while trading on the California Coast in 1825. Like other Haida-motif panel pipes of the period, it features ingeniously and occasionally erotically intertwined creatures from the Haida cosmos, frequently with joined tongues. The joined-tongue image is undoubtedly derived from a motif often found on the celebrated chief's raven rattle, where a frog and a man lying in a supine position are so linked. At least a dozen creatures, or parts thereof-including eagle, bears, ravens, whales, hawks, and human- are represented in the pipe shown here. (See references for "Uncommon Legacies" page 143)

Exhibition History

  • Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum, Washington State Historical Society; October 11, 2005 through February 09, 2006