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Fungus ash box
Fungus ash box
Date:
ca. 1880
Location:
Not on display
Century:
Media:
Whale Tooth, Wood, Glass Beads, Sinew, And Pigment
Dimensions:
3 x 1 1/8 x 3/4 in.
Object Type:
Country:
Continent:
North America
Culture/People:
Eskimo
Accession Number:
2007.21.106
Acquisition Date:
2007-06-21
Credit Line:

Bequest of Thomas G. Fowler

Ivory container with fluted sides and wooden fitted bottom and top stopper. Stopper is stained red and is embellished with a blue Russian trade bead strung on a piece of gut for attachment. NOTE: Fungus ash is an important component of chewing tobacco. The fungus is obtained by trade from the Yukon Indians, who collect it from dead birch trees. It's burned and mixed with finely shredded tobacco leaves formerly originating through Siberian trade, and then is kneaded and rolled into rounded pellets or quids. At this point it is often given to a man's wife, who chews the mixture a bit to better incorporate the ashes with the tobacco. The processed quids are packed in quid boxes ready for use. A man does not actually chew the quid, but holds it in his mouth, swallowing the juice.

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