Object Record

  • Email This Page
  • Send Feedback
Catalog Number 01.C.40
Object Name Knife
Title Knife with Case
Artist Unknown
Collector Frank Gouldsmith Speck
Description Metal knife with wooden handle. Leather case with leather straps on either end of the top, and multicolored glass beading on front side of case. "Montagnais - Naskapi" is marked on box and label inside box.

Presented with the papers of Frank Gouldsmith Speck (APS Library).
Label Montagnais-Naskapi was a term formerly used for Native American groups, now called the Innu, whose borders overlapped on the Quebec-Labrador peninsula of Canada. With the introduction of European metal, many Native American groups embraced metal knives as replacements for those made out of bone or wood. Glass beads, also brought by Europeans, often supplanted porcupine quills as the ornamental materials of choice. Beadworkers created special designs on knife cases to provide spiritual guidance for hunters. Women typically used smaller knives, such as this one, for preparing hides and meat. Anthropologist Frank Gouldsmith Speck gave this knife to the APS along with a native American gourd (01.C.15). Speck travelled among the Innu between 1908 and 1932, collecting objects he later distributed to the museums that supported his research, including the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
Material Metal, leather, glass
Dimensions W-1.125 L-10.5 inches
Dimension Details Case: 9.5 x 2.75 (not incl. strings)
Credit line American Philosophical Society. Gift of Mrs. Frank Speck, 1950.
Search Terms Native America