Sunday, January 21, 2024

Historic Paddle Photo: 1872 Mi'kmaq paddles

A very old image posted on Facebook showcases two Mi'kmaq men next to their bark canoe. Difficult with the tones in the background but you can just make out the shape of the long paddle blades. The source identifies the men as John Barrington and John Stevens (aka Big John) in Newfoundland, Canada dated to 1872.




Sunday, November 5, 2023

Circa 1860 "Pleasing the Spirits" paddle up for auction (again)

Bonham's  Auctions is featuring a circa 1860 paddle in their upcoming NATIVE AMERICAN & TRIBAL ART auction, set for 8 November 2023. LOT 84 features "A Northeastern Woodlands canoe paddle" which might be familiar to readers of this blog.


A Northeastern Woodlands canoe paddle
Malecite(?), c. 1860s
63 3/4 in.
Provenance: Private collection, New York. 
Collected in the St. John's River area of New Brunswick, Canada.

The uniquely carved stepped grip of this paddle features some floral incised decorative elements.


This paddle was originally illustrated in an exhibition catalog from 1982, Pleasing the Spirits. A Catalogue of a collection of American Indian Art by Douglas C. Ewing, Page 385, plate 474. It was up for auction back in 2009 where it fetched a realized price $2500 after being valued at $700. It seems to have been up for auction again in 2017. I made a replica from maple back in 2020 and it has become one of my favourites for relaxed solo paddling. Hopefully this treasure will go to a good home where it will be valued for the historic piece that it is.

Nov 10 2023 Update: Paddle sold for $3200 US (including buyer's premium)



Monday, October 9, 2023

Mariner's Catalog (1973) - Henri Vaillancourt Paddles

Came across a 50 year old photo published in the 1973 publication,  The Mariner's catalog, available for 1 hour borrowing on Archive.org. It accompanies a brief write-up of the Malecite style paddles carved by Henri Vaillancourt. The photo is B&W is quite dark and grainy but the beautifully sculpted blades with sharp spines are visible. 





Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Historic Paddle Photo: Anishinaabe Pole Style Grip

From the Flickr photostream of the Superior National Forest is an image dated to 1915 showcasing a family paddling in their bark canoe. The man in the stern demonstrates the indigenous paddling method using a pole-style grip paddle...

Basswood River near Wheel Barrow Portage, 1915



Sunday, July 30, 2023

Peabody Harvard Canoe


A glass plate photo of a birchbark canoe in the collection of the Peabody Museum (Harvard) showcases the hull displayed with two full-sized paddles featuring elongated grips:

Peabody Number: 2004.24.5433
Display Title: Birchbark Canoe
Passamaquoddy
Geography/Provenience: North America/Canada/New Brunswick
Materials: Negative, glass plate


Further research revealed additional colour photos of these paddles which have been loosely dated to between 1800 and 1870 and donated by G.A. Peabody to the collection ca. 1870-1872.


Peabody Number: 72-29-10/7128.2
Display Title: Paddle (1 of 2) belonging to canoe 72-29-10/7128
Inventory Description: Paddle, flat blade, flattened handle, cracked tip
Date: 1800-1872
Culture/Period:Passamaquoddy
Geography/Provenience:North America/United States/Maine/Washington County/Eastport
Dimensions: Overall: 169 x 13.9 x 2.8 cm (66 9/16 x 5 1/2 x 1 1/8 in.)
Provenance:Collector: G. A. Peabody (ca. 1870 - 1872)


Peabody Number: 72-29-10/7128.1
Display Title: Paddle (1 of 2) belonging to canoe 72-29-10/7128
Inventory Description: Paddle, flat blade, handle flattened and flared at tip, at base of handle when it meets the paddle there are three lines carved into both sides of the handle.
Date: 1800-1872
Culture/Period:Passamaquoddy
Geography/Provenience:North America/United States/Maine/Washington County/Eastport
Dimensions: Overall: 169 x 13.9 x 2.8 cm (66 9/16 x 5 1/2 x 1 1/8 in.)
Provenance:Collector: G. A. Peabody (ca. 1870 - 1872)


A model version of this second paddle (Acc No. 2000.0038.000029F) was carved by Tappan Adney and now resides in the collection of the Mariner's Museum, though Adney dates the object to 1874. See link and images HERE




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