M62 | Splint gauge

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Splint gauge
Anonyme - Anonymous
Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Mi'kmaq
1875-1900, 19th century
Wood, iron, tin (plated)
4.5 x 13.4 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Gauge (7)
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Keys to History

Even when created for everyday use, Mi'kmaq artisanal objects are decorated with a variety of motifs based on the experience and cultural background of their creators. Like most Mi'kmaq knowledge, basketweaving techniques are passed down from one generation to the next.

The art of weaving woodsplint baskets requires great skill, and such baskets have always been much admired. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, beautifully woven Mi'kmaq baskets were snapped up by eager buyers all along the eastern seaboard. The Mi'kmaq still make and sell woodsplint baskets today.

This basket gauge was used to produce splints of a uniform width. Note the serrated metal teeth on the edge. A strip of wood is pulled down and over the teeth to cut splints of a predetermined width.

  • What

    This carved mahogany basket gauge was used to make wood splints for basketweaving. The six teeth were made from the springs of a watch.

  • Where

    This basket gauge comes from a Mi'kmaq community in Nova Scotia.

  • When

    This basket gauge was made at the beginning of the 20th century, that is, shortly before David Ross McCord acquired it in 1914.

  • Who

    In the past, men and women participated in the making of baskets -men prepared the splints, while women wove the baskets. Today, both men and women take part in all of the activities associated with basketmaking.