daagyaal’uu (Ladle)

About this object

History of use

Ladles and spoons were common eating and serving implements on the Northwest Coast. Elaborately carved and inlaid horn ladles, such as this one, where used at important ceremonial feasts, and expressed their owner's wealth, status and crest associations.

Cultural context

status; food serving; ceremony

Iconographic meaning

The motifs on ladles usually expressed the same crest figures and family owned myths as are found on totem poles (Wardell).

Specific techniques

Horn ladles were made by boiling or steaming mountain goat or mountain sheep horn, molding, carving and then incising.

Physical description

A spoon-shaped ladle with an s-type curve shape that is more pronounced in the wide bowl than the tapering handle. Bowl is oval with slightly a squared end, and gracefully tapering handle, slightly concave on the bowl side. Four evenly spaced carved rectangles on the inside surface of the handle with the top, and the second from the bottom retaining the abalone shell inlay. Exterior surface of bowl is carved with a bilaterally symmetrical stylized distributive design. Face at the spoon end has a curved mouth with even teeth rows while the tongue is sticking out at the centre, a nose with circular nostrils, large eyes in ovoids to the sides, and u-shaped ears above the eyes. Elongated u along the centre with four evenly spaced ovoids. Paw-like appendages above ears with various u-shapes filling remaining space on the sides. At the other end, there are large ovoids on each side with a split u that has internal detail above.