Author Topic: Original pacific northwest carved horn  (Read 6357 times)

Offline T.C.Albert

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Original pacific northwest carved horn
« on: June 25, 2011, 03:30:22 PM »
A am posting these for Mr. Nogold. He graciously sent me a CD with a dozen or so images of this horn when he learned that I was really interested in this style of carving, and we thought you all might want to seeing a few of the images too.
TC






« Last Edit: May 12, 2020, 09:46:50 PM by rich pierce »
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Offline Tim Crosby

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2011, 03:48:40 PM »
 WOW! That is quite a horn. The work involved in that is not easy and very time consuming. A beauty.

 Thanks For The Pics, Tim C.

Offline Kermit

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2011, 07:14:58 PM »
TC--Can you share any of the provenance on this horn? I had an uncle who tried to teach me Northwest carving, and I never got the hang of it. Funny part is that he was Souix who transferred his tribal membership after WWII when the Marines landed him in Seattle and he stayed in WA.
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2011, 07:42:34 PM »
This horn speaks of incredible tenacity.  To carve like this in wood and stone is one thing, but horn is to my mind, much more difficult.  TC...you have your work cut out for you!!  I know yours will be just as spectacular.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.

BrownBear

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2011, 04:31:29 AM »
Based on some limited experiments and the carving detail in that photo, I have an interesting insight or speculation on the carving.   What are the chances that horn was soaked or boiled till it softened a bit before carving?  The details in the photo look more like knife cuts than chisel or file work, and the only way I can see doing that is with a softened horn.  I played with it a tiny bit, and softening the horn sure made it easier.  In my case I didn't boil it long enough, so the softening didn't go as deep as would have liked.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2011, 04:32:25 AM by BrownBear »

Offline mr. no gold

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2011, 07:18:39 PM »
Glad that you find the horn attractive. I don't know much about it except that it came out of the John DuMont Powderhorn/Americana Collection which was sold sometime after his passing. I acquired it at Little John's Auction and paid handsomely for it.
The motifs shown are: beaver, on the bottom; bear, in the middle; and loon at the spout. It appears to be fairly early, that is to say, probably 1800s. It is pretty generic for the NWC, but is likely Tlingit, or Haida. I have seen other NW horns, but they are not only few in number, but have incised carving, only. This horn is about 14 inches long, by the way.
The great photography is by JTR who built a small light box to shoot objects, such as this. He does great work in whatever he does. Thanks, John.
Best-Dick

smorrison

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2011, 09:45:27 PM »
TC, mr. no gold, thank you for posting this.  I've done two horns with a NW Coastal Indian theme and till now I've thought they were pretty much fantasy pieces.  This is the first original I've seen and it is fantastic to say the least. ;D

BrownBear, carving on horn is not that difficult with chisels and knives.  I've done it and have not softened the horn.  Of course we have no way of knowing if the artist who crafted this softened it as you suggest.  I may have to try that sometime...

Scott

BrownBear

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2011, 10:28:29 PM »
BrownBear, carving on horn is not that difficult with chisels and knives.  I've done it and have not softened the horn.  Of course we have no way of knowing if the artist who crafted this softened it as you suggest.  I may have to try that sometime...

Scott

I was just reacting to the "nature" of the cuts I can see and weighing that against trying to do the work with a crooked knife.  The Native folks I know and deal with all the time are eminently practical, certainly as a cultural value passed from generation to generation.  Traditional techniques for shaping wood and bone often involved hot water or steam, so it would seem to follow....

smorrison

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2011, 12:30:32 AM »
Good point BrownBear.

Scott

Offline Kermit

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2011, 03:23:47 AM »
Reason I asked about possible provenance is that the carving doesn't look like NW crooked knife cuts. I'm guessing newer European tools, and maybe decoration added to a trade horn. Not many cattle kept by upper left coast natives. The tacks and screw eye say late period trade--if not hardware store. Could well be it dates to late 19th/early 20th century when trade guns were still in common use. I saw one photo of a Coast Salish family with a boy of 10/12 years holding whats clearly a muzzleloader. Unfortunately the lock is not visible, so ignition remains a mystery.
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

BrownBear

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2011, 03:45:39 AM »
Interesting views we have of the PNW.  I'm at the north end of the "distribution" and the Russians had cattle up here early on, along with straight iron knives.  If I recall correctly Shelikov arrived on Kodiak in 1792 and the first cattle arrived around 1810 or so.  We still have a remnant feral herd of "Russian" cattle on Chirikof Island that has caused quite a stir among heritage cattle enthusiasts for their "pure" bloodline.  One ranching operation managed to collect some and transport them to Kodiak with intentions of breeding into their own herds for genetic advantages.  I helped work a herd of them a couple of years later, and the bulls in particular still had a lot of "feral" in their outlook on life.   :o  I've occasionally been charged by bulls in past years, but the event was always short lived.  These things prosecute the charge for a considerable distance, and repeatedly.  Usually at the first sight of you.  Egad.

I digress.  Again.  :)  I'm relatively certain that the Russians also transported cattle to Sitka in southeast Alaska and Fort Ross in California pre-1850, and US ships regularly coursed up and down the Pacific coast before 1850, with beef hides from California being the principal commerce for delivery to Chile or around the horn to New England.  

And with the Hudson Bay company and other trading at Astoria and points north pre-1850, it's easy to assume that if they were trading guns they were also trading horns in that era, even if the Natives didn't make the horns themselves.  

Shake it all together and spread in a pan, and I think the mix could easily lead to access to horns pre-1850.  In fact, I would call it almost certain.  And with their penchant for art and decoration, I can't see them leaving a plain horn plain.

This one is certainly unusual and well done, but I can't convince myself it's outside the realm of possibility.  It would certainly be good to check with the various museums for other examples of horns for comparison.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2011, 03:51:00 AM by BrownBear »

Rasch Chronicles

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2011, 10:23:35 AM »
As my kids would say: "Wicked!"

I use a sharp chisel to taper the thick end of the horn, and it cuts real smooth. Any good sharp steel should do the same.

Best Regards,
Albert “Afghanus” Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles™
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Offline Kermit

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Re: Original pacific northwest carved horn
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2011, 03:40:07 AM »
I'm at the southern end of the distribution where we had "English" and Boston Men. Hawaiians down around Ft. Vancouver. A few Spaniards early on who left behind some place names and Ozette potatoes. ;)

Natives here certainly did know and use horn, even before the arrival of cattle. A bit harder to get ahold of, requiring a trek away from the shore a good ways, into the Cascades. Very nicely decorated spoons made from the horns of the native high altitude sheep and goats are seen here and there in collections. NO goats were in the Olympic range, BTW. They are now nearing pest status, having been introduced for hunting and now protected by National Park boundaries. NPS is trying to figure out what to do about their damage to the native ecology.

It's pretty hard to determine the ancestry of the artist at this point, and an expert examining the piece can better tell if the cuts were made using the traditional NW crooked knives or with trade/European blades. One thing for sure, the horn and its donor are not native critters.
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West