Sunday, July 31, 2011

Painted Canoe Model Paddles (circa 1799)

Here are some pics of some painted model canoe paddles built for a swiss tourist in 1799 now part of the collection of the Museum of Ethnography in Neuch√Ętel. Pieces like this really give a clue to possible native decoration on life-sized paddles on the era.

Wabenaki, Huron (Wendat), Mohawk, and Algonquin converts from Roman Catholic mission villages along the Saint Lawrence River cooperated with nuns to manufacture Native "tourist art." Older traditions of doll-making were adjusted by using wax to model faces for figurines that were then clothed in the Native dress fashionable at that time. For tourists who bought canoe models such as the one shown here, their souvenir represented a vivid and portable manifestation of their more or less close encounter with the American aborigines and of the latter's ability to adopt Christianity. This one was acquired by a Swiss tourist, Jeanne Elisabeth Gugy, in

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