Bent-corner chief's chest

Native American (Tsimshian)
about 1850

Object Place: British Columbia (Coastal), Canada


67.94 x 61.59 x 105.09 cm (26 3/4 x 24 1/4 x 41 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Yellow cedar and red cedar with red (Chinese vermilion and red ochre) and black pigment

On View

Native North America Gallery (Gallery LG34)




Case furniture and boxes

Large rectangular box with thick, plank base and thicker plank cover. Front and back fields entirely filled with flat, linear images in black and red that are shallowly carved. Negative/positive compositional tension between paint and wood color. Black linear ovoids, circles, and calligraphic lines predominate. Recognizable eye, teeth, and hand images in composition. Side panels are painted linearly in red and black but uncarved. Large negative shapes in upper and lower corners with symbols in character with the front and back bridging negative areas.


Descended in the family of Mr. Dan (Coast Salish), and is said to have been in his family since the family migrated from the north several generations earlier. Acquired from Mrs. Dan, Musqueam Reservation, Vancouver, British Columbia, by Donald Ellis Gallery, Dundas, Ontario, Canada. Purchased by the Museum in 1997.

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by a friend of the Department of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture