Dishes, bowls, trays, ladles and spoons in a variety of shapes and sizes were part of the expected settings for a feast, and those that were particularly well designed drew much comment from guests. Dishes and bowls were carved out of blocks of wood, moulded out of horn, or constructed by bending boards into a box shape. Bill Holm eloquently captured the essence of these dishes:
The containers of the northern coast illustrate the remarkable technology of wood and horn working practiced by the native craftsmen. Many different techniques were utilized in making these containers, including carving from solid blocks of wood, shaping carved horn by means of steam, bending planks at steamed kerfs, and fastening joints by pegging or sewing them. The resulting vessels were utilitarian and functional. Their utilitarian roles, however, are over-shadowed by the subtleties of structural form, the richness of surface carving, or the strength of sculptural detail. Function, form, and decoration come together in pieces of aesthetic merit that express the strength and life of a rich culture.
date created: november 30, 1998 | Last Updated: April 1, 2010