Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

bentwood box
  • Tlingit peoples
  • bentwood box, late 1800s–1926
  • Where object was made: District of Alaska or Alaska Territory (present-day Alaska), United States or British Columbia, Cana
  • cedar wood, cedar bark, paint
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 59 x 49 x 44 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 23 1/4 x 19 1/4 x 17 5/16 in
  • Gift of George W. Reed
  • Not on display
  • 2007.6203
Multimedia
Description

The large wooden box is taller than it is wide. The sides are made from a single piece of wood, scored and bent to form three corners. The fourth corner is made by stitching loose ends together with cedar bark. The bottom was also sewn on with cedar bark and held with nails.

Two sides are undecorated, except for two ovoid forms. The remaining two sides are decorated with formline designs.

Side one has two small black ovoids at the top center with a red U form below. There are two large eyes, made from concentric ovoids, on either side of the red U form. There is a wide black ovoid with red detail and two small black ovoids below the eyes. The large black ovoid below has red detail and two black circles, reminiscent of a face. Either side of the ovoid has a red circle with a black circle inside and a red U form on the side below the circles. There is a black outline around the center ovoid and the two side designs. The bottom portion of the panel has a red U form in the center and two eyes, made from concentric ovoids, on either side.

Side two has two small black ovoids at the top center with a red U form below. There are two large eyes, made from concentric ovoids, on either side of the red U form. There is a wide black ovoid with red detail that appears to be a mouth. There is a small bird face in the corners with a round black eye and red beak, directed inward. There are two narrow red U forms above two wider red U forms inside a wide black outline. The black ovoid and the thick red lines on either side of the design are defined by a black outline. The two black ovoids above the small and large red U form separating the two eyes are made from concentric black ovoids.