Sunday, October 12, 2008

c. 1878 Maliseet Paddle

While searching through Artefacts Canada's site, I came across a fascinating paddle, apparently located at the Fredericton Region Museum (formerly York Sunbury Museum) in Fredericton, New Brunswick. It's been dated to at least 1878, made from maple, and is ornately carved with a stylized fiddlehead design. The description mentions that it was presented to Col. John Saunders (1792-1878), who served as High Sheriff of York County for many years and befriended many local Maliseet. The grip is incised with the builder  dupskodegun (pictorial signature or private mark) and is made of curved motifs with a stylized depiction of fiddleheads, apparently a very common design of the time. Below are some closeups of the blade and grip area. For the full Artefacts Canada citation, click here.

The decorated blade & grip

The whole paddle

UPDATE - See more detailed pics of this paddle HERE


Anonymous said...

What is the thickness of the shaft of the Maliseet paddle?

Murat said...

Don't know and the Artefacts Canada citation doesn't list that info. Many of the plans of historic native paddles I've seen typically have 1 inch thick shafts. Of course many native craftsment never made paddles by western measure, but rather by the feel and give of the wood. I guess if you really wanted the info, you could contact the York Sunbury Museum directly.

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