long two-sided blade; handle wrapped with light-colored leather thong; top is carved in the form of a bear's head, baring its teeth; abalone inlay eyes

Fighting dagger, c. 1825-1830

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Every Tlingit man owned and carried a fighting dagger, which was always by his side. The Tlingit referred to this type of dagger as quoth-lar, meaning "to strike with the fist," and they used weapons like this against Native and non-Native enemies. The steel was probably salvaged from ship parts found on the shores of Alaska. The blade was Native-forged and is slightly concave for strength and ease of sharpening. The bear, a central theme in Tlingit art, is considered a relative to humans. It has spiritual power because of this, and is highly respected in Tlingit traditions. The pommel of this dagger is unusual for the exceptionally fine and highly detailed carving of the bear's open mouth and teeth.

Details
Title
Fighting dagger
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2007.101
Curator Approved

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long two-sided blade; handle wrapped with light-colored leather thong; top is carved in the form of a bear's head, baring its teeth; abalone inlay eyes