First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art

May 28, 2019

LOT 53

Lot 53


Lot 53 Details
UNIDENTIFIED MAKER, Possibly Coast Salish


c. 500 B.C - A.D 500
7.5 x 4 x 3.75 in — 19.1 x 10.2 x 9.5 cm

Estimate $600-$800

Realised: $480
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images

a B.C. private collection


Wilson Duff estimates that the basic design of the hand hammer (or maul) is at least two thousand years old in the region at the mouth of the Fraser River in B.C. He suggests that the “nipple top” design is the oldest, and that the flat-topped design, which resembles a typical pestle, came later (p. 90). While the basic design is utilitarian there is no denying the phallic symbolism of both the shape and the use of this tool. On the other hand, in this beautiful example the nipple top suggests a male-female duality. It’s a lovely, evocative object. Dare we call it striking?

References: for a discussion of stone hammers and mauls with several illustrations see Wilson Duff, Images Stone B.C. (Oxford U.P., 1975) pp. 88-99. For a brief discussion of the use of hand hammers in woodcarving see Hilary Stewart, Cedar (Douglas & McIntyre, 1984) p. 30.

First Arts: Inuit & First Nations Art Auction


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 53

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.