Object Name: Oil dish
Place of Origin: Bella Coola, British Columbia, Canada
Date/Era: 19th century
Dimensions: L: 24.5 cm
Medium/Materials: Wood, paint
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.
Accession Number: X65.7474
This elegant bowl in the form of a reclining male figure was once a prestige item in a potlatch festival hosted by Haida and neighboring communities. Guests brought food dishes (kihle) to eat from during the lavish feast, and often carried food back in them as well. The more beautifully a food dish was carved, the more the guests admired it as a sign of its owner’s status and largesse.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.