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Birch Bark Box

Dublin Core


Birch Bark Box





Brief Description

Tall, round birch bark lidded box with minimal quillwork star on the lid.


Tall, round birch bark lidded box with minimal quillwork star on the lid.

1. Form: This box differs from the others in the collection because it is mostly plain bark, with little quillwork. The only quillwork is a 6-point star on the lid, measuring 2.5 inches across and made of simple rows of white quills on each arm. The side of the lid is wrapped in 5 thin rows of sweet grass, bound by brown stitching. The rest of the box is plain bark, stitched together. A thin band of bark outlined the bottom edge. Another such band is present but loose/detached, and appears to have once outlined the top of the base where it meets the lid. A second bark layer lines the inside.

2. Material & Color:
Birch bark - medium to dark brown (R219 G180 B126) to (R133 G88 B20)
Sweet grass - faded yellow-brown (approx. R188 G153 B39)
Cotton thread - tan/brown (R141 G115 B25)
Quills - Off-white

3. Construction: Bark was cut, bent, and stitched into shape.

4. Decoration: Quillwork is present on the lid, and sweet grass is wrapped around the sides of the lid.

5. Skill/Care: Simple and requiring of less skill than the other pieces, but neatly done.

6. Condition: Fair to poor, all due to age. The box has overall wear. Much of the lid quillwork is broken or missing. Some of the stitching has come loose and strands of sweet grass hang freely. One of the bark strips is completely detached. Minor warping of the lining. Overall, this piece certainly shows its age.

Dimension 1

4.5" W

Dimension 2

4.5" D

Dimension 3

4" H


bark(birch) fiber(sweet grass) cotton quill(porcupine)


cut bent stitched


quillwork wrapped(fiber)


FAIR wear broken(pts miss) warp


Ostrom, Elinor -bequest


Ostrom, Elinor and Vincent

Accession Number


Old Number

MM249.184 CAC#UB-18 OC#253






North America

Comments Object History

2012 INV: Campus Art Collection Room=Upper Bedroom; 2014 CAT REV: Information from Elinor Ostrom/Carol Parks spreadsheet:
Ostrom # 253
Ostrom Purchase Place: Manitoulin
Ostrom Purchase Price: 1.00
Ostrom Room: Our Bedroom


This item is from the collections of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.