Featured Another Unsigned NWC Style Carving (?)

Discussion in 'Tribal Art' started by 2manybooks, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    I bought this fellow at a local auction many years ago, recognizing the style as NWC. But there is no signature, and nothing that I can see to distinguish him from some wanna-be carver's work. So I thought I would ask you folks if you see anything interesting. He seems to have been varnished at some point, and has a bit of wear. Appears to be cedar. 13 3/4" long, 5 3/4" wide, 4 1/4" tall.

    Your thoughts?

    1 (800x383).jpg 2 (800x394).jpg 3 (800x352).jpg 4 (558x800).jpg 5 (800x400).jpg 6 (800x463).jpg
  2. i need help

    i need help Moderator Moderator

  3. pearlsnblume

    pearlsnblume Well-Known Member

    That is so cute. It reminds me of that movie that had the fish Mr. Limpet.
    Hope someone can help you out.
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  4. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    There is something rather odd about it, seems to me - it is not exactly the form one would expect from native work; more like an amateur carver trying to imitate NW Coast style without having studied it in any great detail, or having worked with a mentor.
    There is a traditional way that NW Coast native carvings are made, using a system of stop-cuts and v-shaped cuts, giving a great "crispness" to the carving, which I don't see here. These cuts have a more rounded and "Western" look. And one would often see a secondary round line inside the bowl, not present here...I'll see if I can find an example....
    And is it a seal or a fish? hard to say; but with native work, one should be able to tell. Feast-bowls or grease bowls are not often found in the shape of a fish, though it is not unknown; but those that I've seen don't look much like this.
    So I'm not sure it is native-made, though it might be; but it is sort of cute for sure; and very reminiscent of Don Knotts as Mr. Limpet.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  5. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    Examples of more typical bowl usages; note the extra groove inside the bowl; and the v-cuts can be seen in the tail. This is unsigned, possibly Ksan student work, likely not as old as it appears; but experts I've shown it to, including Bill Holm, are divided.


    bowl 2.jpg
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  6. Boland

    Boland Well-Known Member

    Is it not perhaps something like this or copy. Canada Boma fish carving ‘offering bowl’
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
    judy likes this.
  7. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't think so. Northwest Coast bowls are not used for or as offerings, but for food or for grease, eaten in various ceremonies. And now of course, simply for sale. Boma, now Panabo sales, was founded in 1965 by a Hungarian immigrant to Canada, Boris Magreb; and the majority of their designs were and are not copies of native work, but interpretations of native styles, generally done by non-natives; so not to be trusted as examples of what native work might look like. More recently they have commissioned native artists to design a variety of items; but older items were more generic "in the style."
    OP's bowl is what it is, a cute bowl in native style; might actually be native-made, but might well not be; and being unsigned, it may not really be worth speculating, unless someone (Komo?) can find a signed example by the same carver.
    I'm not putting it down; I just like to talk about native carvings and art. Sorry.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
  8. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your insights. Maybe he is a salmon-seal, like a sea-bear. ;)
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  9. Boland

    Boland Well-Known Member

    Or a very weird looking otter :)
    2manybooks likes this.
  10. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    Sure! I'm curious to hear what @Komokwa has to say.
    judy likes this.
  11. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    A red cedar carved NWC Seal Bowl.....
    unsigned and lacking in finesse & with coating , I'd suspect 1960's to early 70's.

    it is though elegant in it's simplicity........
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  12. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    or a rock-cod.
  13. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!


    older ones were much more intricate in design and carving..

    upload_2021-9-21_18-32-32.jpeg upload_2021-9-21_18-34-19.jpeg

    newer ones also have more design structure....

    but in between those styles....there was a loss on knowledge...and how to work the carvings...which only sprung up again in the late 50's and early 60's..
    judy, all_fakes, Boland and 1 other person like this.
  14. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    is that like a Rock Lobster...? :confused:

  15. smallaxe

    smallaxe Well-Known Member

    @komokwa - the first two of those three you posted are wonderful. And I liked the Rock Lobster nod.
    judy and komokwa like this.
  16. Potteryplease

    Potteryplease Well-Known Member

    ...woulda liked to have been a fly on the wall at that one.

    Can I ask you all to say more about this?
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  17. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    K'san is a village , housing a major NWC art teaching center ....

    I doubt any student from there would produce this style of bowl...
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  18. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    He will go back on the shelf and just be whatever he is. Thanks for taking a look.
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  19. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    I see an unusual Tlingit style Oystercatcher grease bowl....
    judy likes this.
  20. all_fakes

    all_fakes Well-Known Member

    Yes, that was one opinion; others noted that at K'san, sometimes the students would not sign works; which is one possible explanation for a lack of signature on an item; and also, the students would sometimes produce works that were a bit anomalous, or appeared older than they might actually be. I've got a couple of rather anomalous bowls and such that could be from there.

    There is/was a Seattle based Native arts group, formerly affiliated with the Seattle Art Museum, now with the Burke; Bill Holm was a member, and at an annual party members would bring items for a kind of show-and-tell. Thus the chance for folks to offer opinions on the bowl I've shown; and also one can hardly say how much fun it was to have Bill pass around a pair of native-style moccasins, or a carving, and say "I made these."
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