Yesterday I went to a Native American auction. The auction was held at the Indian casino just a few miles from my Northern Minnesota cabin. Although the auction was advertised as a Native American auction, the auction was actually a mixture of old furniture, a lot of western horse tack, tobacco collectables and some Native American items.
I don’t usually buy much at such auctions. I just like to see what is there and what people are willing to pay. There are nearly always some fake Native American items. But, I did buy one item at this auction. It is a gourd canteen. It was advertised as from a Northwest coast tribe but no tribe name was given.
The gourd is straight and about 16 inches long. It is wide at the bottom end and narrow at the top end. It looks somewhat like a short plumped up baseball bat. There is a long leather strap made of harness leather that goes around the gourd the long way. The strap is decorated with sewn on cowry shells. Another strap is attached to the top and middle of the gourd. It is sewn in the middle and tacked at the top. The resulting loop is just long enough to hook the canteen over a saddle horn.
The cap is a leather cuff with a piece of the gourd sewn to the top. The cap fits snugly to the top of the gourd and could also be used a cup. The cap has two rows of green seed beads sewn around the bottom and two rows of red seed beads sewn around the top. There is also one row of white seed beads with a blue stripe sewn around the top. All of the beads are somewhat misshapen. The beads are probably Venetian and I believe the white beads with the blue stripe are somewhat rare. There is a little damage to the bead work but nothing too serious. It is evident the beads were sewn on with animal sinew.
I invite you to take a look at some of my own handiwork on display at Sirocco’s Trading Post on artfire.