Object photography

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Object description

  • Haida artist
  • Cane, late 19th century
  • Wood
  • Skidegate, Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), British Columbia, Canada
  • L: 36 1/4 in, W: 1 1/4 in, D: 3 5/8 in (L: 92.1 cm, W: 3.2 cm, D: 9.2 cm)
  • Gift of the Smithsonian Institution, 1884
  • E3660
  • Carved for the tourist trade
  • Haida's respect Frog, who lives on land and sea, for his adaptability and knowledge

In the last few decades of the 19th century, Haida artists, responding to a Euro-American market, carved and sold canes to tourists, merchants, anthropologists, and missionaries alike. Here, a serpent with a frog in its mouth moves up the shaft of the wooden cane. The carving of the serpent exquisitely replicates the scaly outerskin of a snake and frog. While the maker of this cane is unidentified, this was collected by James G. Swan before 1884. Swan, working for the Smithsonian Institution, collected several other canes definitively carved by Haida master artist Charles Edenshaw, who sold the bulk of his artwork between 1880 - 1910 to Haida and non-Haida clients.


This is a cane carved out of wood. A snake's body is carved in relief, running from the bottom of the cane to the top. Its head is at a right angle forming the handle. The snake has a frog in its mouth.

Exhibition History

  • Gifts of the Spirit: Works by Nineteenth-Century & Contemporary Native American Artists, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.; November 14, 1996 through May 18, 1997