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First Nations • Bent Wood Boxes / Blanket Boxes

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The First Nations of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America traditionally produced the Bentwood Box. The construction of the Bentwood Box is unique in that it is made from one cedar plank which is grooved in three places, then steamed and bent to create four sides. The two ends of the bent plank are joined with a long wooden peg or laced with sinew or cedar bark rope. The bottom piece also has grooved edges carved into it for a tight fit. Most often there is a hand carved top which is also grooved to fit the sides.

The traditionally made Bentwood Box came in many sizes. Depending on the size and shape, each Bentwood Box would have a unique purpose. Some were used as cooking boxes, blanket boxes, tool boxes or even coffins.

Some Bentwood Boxes were very large, elaborately carved and painted, often with copper or abalone shell inlaid into the design as a symbol of status and wealth. The Chief's Seat (throne) consisted of such a Bentwood Box wherein the Chief's ceremonial mask, robe and regalia would be stored.

 

NewRaven Bentwood Red Cedar Box

Raven Bentwood Red Cedar Box

Artist: Victor Michael West
Available: Ucluelet


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NewOrca Bentwood Box

Orca Bentwood Box

Artist: Victor Michael West
Available: Ucluelet


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