Thursday, October 2, 2014

Abenaki Birchbark Paddle Stencil

This post from 2012 discussed a book source for some of the double curved motifs used in some of my paddle decorations.  Frank Gouldsmith Speck's  Symbolism in Penobscot art (1927) has some wonderful imagery and thorough historical discussion of these motifs. Figure 12 on Page 43 describes a piece of birchbark used as a stencil template to make symmetrical patterns on a paddle blade.

Recently, I found a similar image on this twitter feed. Apparently an artifact in the Smithsonian's NMAI collection, it is a partial image of a bark template for an Abenaki paddle. I've been unsuccessfully searching for a more complete image with historical details, so for now this image will have to do...

Abenaki, Paddle Stencil (detail)

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