MANITOU EFFIGY BOWL
Western Great Lakes Woodlands Indians, ca. 1840. Figurative speciman of ash wood. The water spirit MANITOU, and the use of WOOD, were critical to Native American belief systems. Their spirituality, ceremonies, and rituals formed an integral part of their very being. The forest is where their forefathers lived, the wood the body of their ancestors, such that a ceremonial feast bowl made from their ancestors helped nourish present and future generations. The esteemed and feared MANITOU, the powerful and sacred guardian and keeper of the lakes and rivers, was often manifest as a likeness on bowls, ladles, and clubs . To portray the Manitou in effigy on a bowl is witness to the importance of the water spirit and to the wood. The effigy on this important and rare bowl is especially BOLD, presenting strongly from across the room. The design is "asymmetric", as favored in Western Great Lakes bowls, with an effigy on only one end that integrates with its functionality as a handle. The figure of the ash wood chosen is graphic. Thinly hewn, condition is excellent, dimensions about 19 inches long x 13 7/8 wide x 7 deep. See: "Great Lakes Indian Art", David Penny, and "The Evolution of the Water Manitou as Seen through its Presence in Woodlands Bowls and Ladles", Steve Powers. Relates closely to a bowl at the Detroit Institute of the Arts. Possibly Eastern Sioux, could also be Chippewa or Ottawa. Provenance: Brant Mackley Gallery, Steve Powers, private collections. .