LOT 189

Unidentified Haida Artist
20th Century

Early Northwest Coast Carved Silver Bracelet with Copper Overlay
silver and copper bracelet, circa 1900
1 1/2 x 8 1/4 in 3.8 x 21 cm

Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000

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Acquired by a Red Cross nurse working on the Northwest Coast circa 1900
By descent to the present Private Collection, Pennsylvania

Daina Augaitis et al, Raven Travelling, Two Centuries of Haida Art, Vancouver Art Gallery, 2006, essay by Peter MacNair, page 106

Spanish explorers on Juan Pérez’s expedition in 1774 described Haida women wearing iron and copper bracelets. By the mid- to late eighteenth century, jewellery was being made not only for personal ornamentation but also for trade. The first known account of a silver bracelet commissioned by a non-native occurred circa 1862 - 1870, described by a photographer in Victoria. Early bracelets such as this one were made from silver dollars, sometimes sourced from the United States or Mexico (even Peruvian, by the photographer’s early account), melted and hammered flat into thin surfaces which were then molded and incised using a round piece of wood. As this finely cross-hatched and incised bracelet features copper overlay, it is possible that it was produced in Alaska, as artists there tended to favour these kind of metal techniques. As Peter MacNair wrote, “The 1870s saw the emergence of many silversmiths among the Haida and the Tlingit in southeastern Alaska, where their work was much sought after by cultural tourists drawn to the newly established Alaska territory.”

This bracelet still retains its original clasp.

Estimate: $10,000 - $15,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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