Bass Decoy

  • Andrew Trombley, Bass Decoy, ca. 1940s, carved and painted wood, painted copper sheet, ferrous eye hook, lead weight, and glass eyes, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Alastair B. Martin, 1999.67.20

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Carved fish decoys are one of the earliest forms of American folk art. Hunters around the Bering Sea first used small bone or ivory decoys for ice fishing around 1000 AD. They believed that the decoys embodied the innua, or inner spirit of the fish. The practice spread to upstate New York and the Great Lakes, where it became a tourist industry with many communities growing around prime fishing areas. Ice fishing was banned in 1905, however, because the popularity of the sport had brought about a serious decline in large game fish.

Title
Bass Decoy
Artist
Date
ca. 1940s
On View
Dimensions
4 1/2 x 15 x 4 3/4 in. (11.5 x 38.1 x 12.0 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Alastair B. Martin

Mediums
Mediums Description
carved and painted wood, painted copper sheet, ferrous eye hook, lead weight, and glass eyes
Classifications
Keywords
  • Animal – fish
Object Number
1999.67.20
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More Artworks from the Collection

20th century
carved and painted wood, painted copper sheet, ferrous eye hook, lead weight, and glass eyes
20th century
carved, incised, pyroengraved, and stained wood; galvanized iron sheet; ferrous eye hook; lead weight; and glass eye
ca. 1930s
carved, painted, and stenciled wood; painted copper sheet; painted ferrous tack eyes; and lead weights
ca. 1940
carved and painted wood, non-ferrous sheet metal, ferrous eye hook, lead weight, and glass eyes