Argillite Beaver

Haida argillite pipe representing the SS Beaver. Photo: University of Aberdeen.

The SS Beaver was a prominent early side-wheel trading ship on the NW Coast.  Nice to see it memorialized by Haida argillite pipe in the Marischal Museum collection of the University of Aberdeen, along with some other exceptional Haida pipes.  Apparently donated to the museum by the former Captain of the SS Beaver, William Mitchell, this pipe sports a rotating side wheel carved from whale bone, a beaver figurehead, and someone peeking out of the cabin windows, perhaps Capt. Mitchell himself who probably commissioned this carving.  Some other close ups (in an awkward zoomable interface) are  available on the Scots and Aboriginal People in the Fur Trade site.  More on the SS Beaver here.

A figure looking out the window of the SS Beaver pipe.

2 responses to “Argillite Beaver

  1. That’s beautiful! I’ve never seen anything like it before. It has such a whimsical character to it, with the man looking out the window.
    If this is a pipe, I wonder where the bowl is? In the smoke stack?
    I’m always stunned by the talent exhibited by Haida artists. They can even sculpt artistic potatoes!


  2. These pipes are amazing — I’ve lined up a whole bunch from various sources to post as time goes by.
    Re: the pipe, I think you put your lips on the stern (heh) and yes I would bet the tobacco went into a (now missing) bowl on the smokestack — the “rightness” of that would be obvious I think, and with the missing head of the helmsman we can infer other bits might be missing too.

    Though many of these panel pipes were non functional, most at least show plausible pipe geometry.


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