Saturday, December 3, 2016

c1880 "G.W." Etched Maliseet Paddle

The good folks at The Cherry Gallery have once again posted another vintage paddle find.  I always look forward to a new month in order to check out their lovely current selections postings. This one is utilitarian birch paddle with a simple flattened grip. Photos and their detailed description below...

Maliseet Canoe Paddle
Circa 1880
6" w, 66.75” h

This birch canoe paddle has the characteristic details of Native paddles including a wide, flat handle, chamfering along the edges of the neck, a square-to-round profile transition at the throat of the shaft, a center ridge extending from the lower shaft to the upper blade, and a graceful beavertail-shaped blade. It also has two incised lines on each side of the handle which is a minimalist decoration seen on other Maliseet paddles. It retains its original dark, worn surface. The blade is chipped along one edge. There are incised initials “G.W.” on the back side of the handle.

Grip closeups

Blade closeup including chipped side

The Cherry Gallery's new find reminded me of another "user" paddle that was also authenticated to be a utilitarian Maliseet item. Back in 2011, I was contacted by someone wanting to post about a circa 1900 paddle for sale in their collection (read full original post here).

Circa 1900 Maliseet Paddle

Diamond shaped secondary grip

This paddle had been appraised in 2007 by Donald Ellis, one of Canada's renowned experts on native art. It had also been identified as a Maliseet paddle by the Curator of Cultural History and Art at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John. At one time someone painted it white, then green which the curator mentioned likely preserved the piece. Not sure about the fate of this one, but hopefully both paddles have gone to a good home.

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