1. A gift for good health
This bowl is shaped like a seal. Can you see its head and flippers? If you look closely you can see a bit of oil left in the bottom. It’s probably from a eulachon, a fatty fish. This fish oil is very good for you and it is one of the most important gifts handed out at a potlatch.
Haida; British Columbia, Canada; 1800-1900; wood; WM-34799.
2. Beaver dish
Dishes like this are very valuable, and they are passed on from generation to generation. They are used at ceremonies like potlatches. The birds and animals carved into the wood symbolise ancestors. At the ends of the dish are two beavers who are looking at each other. Their eyes are above the square teeth. Their ribbed tail curls over their head and the end is between the eyes.
Tlingit; Alaska, United States; 1800-1900; wood, mother of pearl; WM-34797