Napkin ring, Wabanaki, ca. 1900

Contributed by Abbe Museum

Napkin ring, Wabanaki, ca. 1900

This record was added to Maine Memory Network through the efforts of a student at George Stevens Academy.


This ash and sweet grass napkin ring is one of the wide variety of household and personal items crafted by Wabanaki artisans around the turn of the century to appeal to Victorian consumers.

There are several steps to harvesting and preparing ash and sweet grass for making into baskets and other items. The ash tree is first cut into sections and the bark is removed. The the end of the logs are pounded into split the wood along the tree rings. Each ring is then sliced into long, thin strips, or splints, of various thicknesses. Once the sprints are soaked and sanded they can be woven into whatever item the weaver desires.

Sweet grass is harvested, optimally before the fist frost and is left to dry in the sun until it is dry and brittle. Before use the weaver soaks the dried sweet grass in warm water until it becomes pliable and then is braided before it is woven into a basket or other item.

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About This Item

  • Title: Napkin ring, Wabanaki, ca. 1900
  • Creator: Wabanaki
  • Creation Date: circa 1900
  • Subject Date: circa 1900
  • Media: Ash splints, sweetgrass
  • Dimensions: 5 cm x 6.6 cm x 5.7 cm
  • Local Code: 2002-16-149
  • Collection: Peter Smith Terry Collection, Gift of Unity College
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Abbe Museum
26 Mount Desert Street, PO Box 286, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
(207) 288-3519

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