Merganser Drake Decoy

Copied Unidentified, Merganser Drake Decoy, 20th century, carved and painted wood, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson, 1986.65.50
Free to use

Artwork Details

Title
Merganser Drake Decoy
Artist
Unidentified
Date
20th century
Dimensions
6 5817 585 in. (16.944.812.8 cm.)
Credit Line
Gift of Herbert Waide Hemphill, Jr. and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson
Mediums Description
carved and painted wood
Classifications
Keywords
  • Animal — bird — duck
Object Number
1986.65.50

Artwork Description

North American hunters have used decoys for centuries. Native Americans made decoys from reeds, clay, and stuffed skins to lure migrating birds within range of their arrows or spears. European pioneers adopted this technique, and by the early nineteenth century both commercial and sport hunters used carved wooden decoys. Craftsmen shape and decorate decoys either to imitate the desired bird’s prey or “trick” them into thinking it is safe to land.