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The Steven Michaan Collection of North American Tribal Art : The Art of the Spirit World : Woodlands

Northeastern / Eastern Canada Woodlands
Otter Effigy Ladle
Maple, 13” Length, c.1820

The architecture of this ladle is atypical and highly sculptural—from the deep cove that separates the bowl and stem, the intricate openwork around the otter’s body and tail, to the scale and orientation. Due to these factors and the ladle's unusual size, it seems likely that it was made as a presentation piece by a Woodlands artisan and gifted to someone involved in the fur trade.

Pipes of similar imagery and orientation made by the Micmac have been documented. Additionally, a handled cup of similar design, recorded as Nipmuc, is in the collection of the Worcester Historical Museum and illustrated in
Willoughby, Antiquities of the New England Indians, p. 259, fig. 139/h.

Otter Effigy Ladle