Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Update on two paddle designs - American Indian Art Magazine

"While browsing through some back issues American Indian Art Magazine at the Toronto Reference Library, I came across an advertisement featuring two familiar paddle blades featured on the blog before.

Ad from American Indian Art Magazine
Spring 2015, Volume 40, Issue 2

The blade on left seems to be from the set of circa 1860 "Delaware" paddles briefly discussed in this post here.

circa 1860 "Delaware" paddles
Original Post Here

A subsequent find in an old Sotheby's catalog from the 90s describes the paddles as " Probably Lorette-Huron"...
“A Pair of Painted Wood Oars, Probably Lorette-Huron.” 
Important American Indian Art
Sotheby’s New York
May 19,1998, lot 726
Original Post Link

The slightly wider blade shape and the obvious paint drips from the dotted decoration point to the likelihood that the shorter paddle of the pair is the one in the ad.

I've made attempts to contact the antique dealer featured in the ad to no avail. But after browsing through snapshots of their site through the Wayback Machine Internet Archive, I was able to find the text that matches this paddle's description:
"This paddle clearly embodies the color symbolism of the Upper and Lower Worlds. The color division of the blade reflects the duality inherent in Native Cosmology. The alternating dots of red and blue circles extending toward the canoeist suggest an animistic connection.
This paddle is associated with the Fur Trade complex. The distinct ornamentation undoubtedly identify this paddle to an individual or band. The three perforations in the handle may have symbolic references and further distinguished its ownership."

The blade on the right of the ad seems to be from the pair of  "Iroquois paddles" listed in a Cowan's auction from 2003.

Pair of Painted Iroquois Canoe Paddles, made of two piece hardwood, red and white painted blade, unpainted shaft
each 65.5" long. Ex Howard K. Echenstern Collection.
 Cowan’s Auction, Cincinnati, Ohio
September 12 &13, 2003, lot #191

The Trotta-Bono experts believe that the Iroquois attribution is incorrect.

"This paddle is finely crafted with a particularly long, narrow blade with a pronounced medial ridge. The long shaft is round in cross section with a broad flattened handle. The distinct ornamentation clearly associates this paddle with the Fur Trade and with a presumably distinct band’s identification. The white circle undoubtedly refers to an aspect of Native Cosmology, interestingly, the white band at the transition from blade to shaft is positioned within the overall red blade."

1 comment:

Rob Stevens said...

Murat, Thanks for your reference to the Wayback Machine. Great archive.

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