Barry Dana has used a traditional technique called scrape work to illustrate a Penobscot legend, that of "Rabbit Smoking His Pipe" on this birch bark mukuk. Scrape work is done by gently and slowly scraping away the very thin outer layer of the winter bark to reveal the lighter surface beneath. This technique used to This container is made in a traditional shape, square bottom and round top. And as is traditional is held together with spruce root lacings. There is a round bentwood rim on the exterior of the basket. The mukuk, a birch bark container with a rectangular bottom and round top and it was used to hold items such as food stuffs, small tools - larger sizes might have held clothing.
This piece is a small mukuk, with a 3.75" diameter at the top, 4.25" x 3.25" rectangular bottom and it is 4.5" high. This mukuk is made of thick "winter" birch bark.
The front of this mukuk has Rabbit smoking his pipe, - with 3 streams of smoke coming out of the pipe. There are also traditional Penobscot designs such as the small trifoliate design jet in front of rabbit. The double curves on the front are a current interpretation of the traditional Penobscot double curve design. The back of the mukuk has a larger trifoliate design at it's center. There is a diamond, also a common Penobscot design below the center "leaf". At the back's sides are the curls of another double curve - a different current double curve style. The front has the rabbit design in the top layer of the bark with the background scraped away and the double curve using both light under layer bark as well as darker top part for the dewing. On the back much of the top layer of the bark is scraped away using only the darker outer layer of bark for the design.
While the image of rabbit smoking a pipe has often been used on Penobscot art, - there is also a moose smoking a pipe on a petroglyph on a rock out-cropping along the Kennebec River - Joe Hugga Dana, Penobscot carver has used the smoking moose image some of his root clubs and art paddles.
On the bottom of the mukuk, Barry Dana has scraped his maker's mark, a dragonfly as well as his name, "B Dana" ... view this in photo below. This will also come with his card inside. (The dragonfly in Penobscot legend is a "shape-shifter")