Object photography

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Object description

  • Anishinaabe (Chippewa/Ojibwa) artist
  • Paddle, before 1826
  • Wood, paint
  • Lake Superior, North America
  • L: 44 1/8 in, W: 3 5/8 in, D: 1 in (L: 112.1 cm, W: 9.2 cm, D: 2.5 cm)
  • Gift of Enos Cutler, 1826., 1826
  • E3720


East India Marine Society Collection


This carved wooden paddle's small handle and painted decoration along the handle and on the tip of the paddle, indicate it was made for the souvenir trade. This paddle is too small to be functional, and the red and black paint that was applied to its surface as decoration would not stand up to use. The carved curvilinear designs, occurring on objects from the Great Lakes region and the eastern Plains, are sometimes interpreted as a feather motif and may be related to curvilinear quillwork patterns in the same area. A ridge runs down the center of the paddle's blade, bisecting the blade into a red side and a black side.

Exhibition History

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