Brook Trout Decoy

  • Unidentified, Brook Trout Decoy, late 19th century, carved and painted wood with metal and leather, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.43

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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
Brook Trout Decoy
Artist
Date
late 19th century
On View
Dimensions
3 x 8 1/2 x 2 in. (7.6 x 21.6 x 5.1 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson

Mediums
Mediums Description
carved and painted wood with metal and leather
Classifications
Keywords
  • Animal – fish – trout
Object Number
1986.65.43
Palette
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

More from artist

19th or 20th century
carved and painted wood
ca. 1850
watercolor on ivory
1760-1765
enamel and gilded metal
20th century
painted wood with metal
before 1997

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early 20th century
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