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

Northeastern (Hudson River Valley)
Woodlands Beaver Effigy Ladle
Maple, 7 ⅝” Length, c.1700 (or earlier)

The first aspect one notices about this early ladle is its overall sleekness. The proportionally large bowl is hewn decisively thin to reinforce the streamlined beaver effigy that fully occupies the handle. The backside of the beaver has a tail running down the back of the handle. The whole has an exceptional surface.

Purportedly the initials, “I B” stand for John Bull (1721-1807) of Hamptonburgh, Orange County, NY, who was the son of William Bull (1689-1756) and Sarah Wells (1694-1796). Bull likely acquired the ladle in trade or as a gift. This is the only known early ladle with branded initials and is one of the earliest, non-excavated ladles extant.

Beaver Effigy Ladle