Object photography

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Object description

  • Probably Tlingit artist
  • Fishhook, about 1800
  • Wood, bone, spruce root
  • Alaska, Pacific Northwest Coast, United States
  • L: 8 7/8 in, W: 5 1/2 in, D: 2 in (L: 22.5 cm, W: 14.0 cm, D: 5.1 cm)
  • Gift of Clifford Crowninshield and Mayhew Folger, 1802
  • E3548
  • Made to catch halibut, one of the largest fishes in the North Pacific Ocean
  • Usually carved by the fisherman, and imbued with supernatural powers to help with the catch

This V-shaped fishhook is comprised of two wooden arms lashed together; a bone barb is attached to one, and the fisherman's spirit helpers are on the other. On this hook, a human, with a spiny sculpin (fish) on his head, stands on top of a sea creature.


East India Marine Society Collection


This halibut fishhook is made with two arms of wood secured together with split spruce root. One arm (which is constructed from a soft wood, possibly spruce) is not ornamented and has a bone barb secured to the arm with split spruce root. The opposite arm (constructed from a dense wood, possibly yew) is decoratively carved with stylized figures, a human head standing on a sea creature. A spiny sculpin (type of fish) is on top of the human's head.

Exhibition History

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