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NORTHWEST COAST OR ARCTIC NATIVE PEOPLES BONE AND IVORY FISHING IMPLEMENTS:  This seven piece set consists of seven pieces of antique native fishing gear which are of the style used by the Northwest Coast tribes or the peoples of the Arctic tribal groups.  Fashioned of bone, possibly tusk ivory, and wood, these pieces are a very nice representative sampling of the type of harpoons, fishing lures, and line which was used by the native subsistence fishermen. 

The set consists of: 

1.  A white bone or ivory harpoon head measuring 5” long and 5/8” wide at its widest point.  The harpoon features two barbs on one side with a swell at the base for anchoring to a shaft.  The point retains it’s sharp tip and there is a hole in the base for attaching a line for retrieving the catch. 

2.  An amber colored bone harpoon head measuring 3 ½” long and is ¾” wide across the matching pair of barbs at the tip.  The base is swelled with two protrusions for anchoring the head to a shaft.   

3.  A wooden harpoon head measuring 4 ¾” long and ½” wide at the widest point.  The tip is broken off this piece, but the remaining portion of the head features two barbs and a tapered base where it anchored in the shaft.   

4.  Three ivory or bone “fish attractors”, or lures, used in ice fishing to draw the fish into the view of the fisherman as he looked down through the hole in the ice and into the water below.  All three are roughly the same length, 3 ¼” to 3 ½”, and are of the same thickness.  Each has a hole for attaching a jigging line, and each is carved with various combinations of dots and lines – perhaps nothing more than decoration, but they could also be ownership marks identifying the native fisherman who made them. 

5.  A carved wooden fishing line bobbin with the original line still intact.  The wooden bobbin is nicely fashioned in the shape of fish, another nice example of how the native peoples were all inherent artists, incorporating design and decoration in even the most mundane pieces of their material culture. The bobbin measures 3 ½” long and 1 ¼” wide at its widest point.   

Other than as noted above, all of these pieces are in very good condition and present as equipment which could be used to land a fish today.   

This is a very nice set of the type that doesn’t survive in great numbers.  While every male, and quite possibly many females and even children possessed their own fishing kit, as their very survival depended heavily on subsistence fishing, this is the sort of artifact that did not attract much collector interest when they were available, and now do not show up on the modern collector market very often.  (0462)   $250


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