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Micmac Quill Box, porcupine quill & spruce root c/1860-1880


This is a porcupine quill on birch bark box with spruce root wrapped side rings and a cedar wood bottom There are porcupine quill designs in the spruce root wrapping on the sides of the round box.

This is 3.5" in diameter and 2.5" high. The condition is nearly perfect with 3 quills missing from the top of the box and only one of spruce root wraps broken (but not missing).

Porcupine quill on birchwork boxes were made by the Micmacs (Mi'kmaq Canadian spelling) from 1750 - 1900. There were a few made after 1900. The spruce root wrapping done around rings of birch bark and slipped over an inner birch bark liner may have been done as early as 1750. The spruce root rings were rarely used on boxes later than 1880. In any given year, not all of the quill work on birch bark boxes utilized the spruce root wrapping.

The blue dye used on the porcupine quills is aniline which dates this box to post 1860, the year that aniline dyes became readily available to the MicMac quill workers.

These boxes are increasingly rare. Birch bark and porcupine quills are fragile so if you find one of these boxes it is likely to have damage, most quite a lot of damage.

Quill Box w/blue & gold c/1860-80
Quill Box w/blue & gold c/1860-80 top coin
Quill Box w/blue & gold c/1860-80 top
Quill Box w/blue & gold c/1860-80 Side
Weight: 12 oz