Hummingbird hovers over a red flower with red hearts/double curves of porcupine quills on each corner of this birch bark and coiled sweetgrass envelope basket by Paul St John, Mohawk craftsman.
Envelope baskets of birch bark with folding double (or quadruple) lids were never a common form. The Wabanaki, Ojibwe and Cree of the North East sometimes made them and decorated them with designs of natural and dyed porcupine quill. On the front, top lid the hummingbird is a male ruby throated hummingbird with glorious green, black, white and of course ruby feathers. The inner lid has 2 smaller red flowers connected by a green and red vine to a yellow circle in the center. View the photos to see the second, smaller lid. (With the larger lid closed, you can see only a tiny part of the smaller lid) Both inner and outer lids have outer borders of green dyed porcupine quill. Double curves are a traditional Wabanaki design (Paul's mother is descended from 3 of the 5 Wabanaki tribes; Passamaquoddy, MicMac & Maliseet - Paul's father was Mohaw. Paul learned crafts, culture and tradition from elders in all 4 of his tribes, he is a registered Mohawk)
The basket is made with a birch bark bottom, and birch bark medallions on the lid with sides and outer borders of the lids made of tidal sweetgrass. At the exterior of the lids' birch bark medallions is a border of variegated green dyed quills. The bird, flowers, double curve/hearts and vines are made of dyed porcupine quills, (the white on the hummingbird is natural quill color)
This is 9.75" long, 7" across and is 2" high.
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