Sunday, December 6, 2020

Cedar "Huron" Paddle Replica

Coming across three nearly identical versions of a model paddle in the collections of the Smithsonian, New York's Metropolitan Museum and the Danish National Museum provided the motivation to attempt a full sized version.

DONOR NAME: Dr. William C. Sturtevant
COLLECTOR: Colonel C. B. Dyneley
OBJECT TYPE: Canoe Model / Paddle Model
PLACE: Ontario / Quebec, Canada, North America
USNM NUMBER: E430522-0

Canoe Model with Accoutrements
Ralph T. Coe Collection, Gift of Ralph T. Coe Foundation for the Arts, 2011
Accession Number:  2011.154.6a–p

National Museum of Denmark, Dept of Ethnography
Photo Credit: Kit Weiss
Hyslop, Stephen G. Chroniclers of Indian life. Alexandria, Va. : Time-Life Books. p.24

 All three model paddles to be made of cedar and I happened to have a scrap piece of red cedar with decent grain. A small 55 inch paddle could be made from the board after cutting around small knots. Shaping out the blank and thinning down the blade with the axe produced lots of scrap for summertime campfires.

The diamond shaped blade features notched shoulders with the face divided into faded red and blue hemispheres. The blade tip shaped into a blunt point. Ended up using some milk paints with similar colours to mimic the decorative effect. The Met Museum cites the model as being a "Maliseet style" but the Smithsonian and Danish samples mention a provenance stemming from the Quebec / St. Lawrence river valley with the Danish sample mentioning it was was made by Quebec Huron / Wendat as a tourist item. This makes the most sense as by the mid 19th century the Wendat in the Quebec city region were well known for manufacturing and marketing such models for the burgeoning tourist trade. As such I've labelled this paddle as a "Huron".

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