West Coast Bentwood Boxes are amongst the most ingenious and versatile objects made by Northwest Coast peoples. Each box is made from one plank of wood that is steamed at three corners and bent around to form a box. The fourth joining corner is usually dowelled with wooden pegs or copper nails. They are usually fitted with a bottom, which is dowelled on, and a lid.
Uses for Bentwood Boxes and other Containers
Bentwood Boxes and other conventionally carved boxes, chests, and other containers were used for storing and cooking food as well as storing ceremonial cloths, masks, and other treasures. Bentwood Boxes were also used for box burials and other types of funeral ceremonies. Bentwood Boxes and other containers are often elaborately carved and painted. The following carvings and sculptures are mainly inspired by Haida and Kwakiutl or Kwakwaka'wakw traditions.