Necklace with pendant of coiled brass, shells, and beads

California culture


possibly late 19th century

Dentalium shells, glass beads, brass, and thread

Overall: 41 3/4 in. (106 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Glover Street Hastings III



Place Made: United States, North America


19th century

Object Name

Personal Adornment

Research Area

Native American

Native American: California Culture

On view


Artists from different nations and backgrounds made the small boats and other artworks in this case. Before cars, trains, and planes, boats connected the world. These objects reflect the global movement of peoples and trade between Indigenous and Colonial nations.

White protestant and catholic missionaries sailed around the globe attempting to convert Indigenous peoples to western religions. The upright (and uptight) missionary figures appear stiff and unmoving, perhaps reflecting the maker’s opinion that colonizing missionaries failed to fully appreciate the complexity of Haida culture.

The necklaces are made from dentalium, a narrow white seashell harvested by Indigenous peoples along the western coast of North America. Indigenous Americans traded dentalium across the continent, exchanging it for turquoise from the Southwest or dyes and hides from other regions. Dentalium’s movement reflects a history of complex international trade between Indigenous Nations that predates the arrival of European colonizers.

From the 2023 exhibition Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Exhibition History

Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, Israel Sack Gallery and the Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 29, 2023-June 16, 2024.


Charles F. Schwing (1875-about 1954), Greenville, South Carolina; sold to Glover Street Hastings III, West Newton, Massachusetts and Bridgeton, Maine, 1942; bequeathed to his daughter, Carlena Hastings Redfield (1888-1981), 1949; bequeathed to present collection [under the terms of her father's will], 1981.

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