Native American Decoys

Native American fish decoy, carved Walnut w/attached metal fins, Maker unknown, Length 14", Circa 1920-25

Naturalistic in form, the Native American decoys from the early part of the Twentieth Century are generally quite somber by comparison with the output of the Anglo carvers of the same regions.

Native American Sturgeon decoy, carved wood, attached metal fins, body with traces of lead-based paint. Maker unknown, Length 14", Circa 1920-25

Many theories have been put forward to explain this, but the simple fact is that the non-native carvers had greater access to paints and paint technology, since most were commercial artists, boatwrights or woodworkers.

Native carvers primarily worked in native woods with a bare minimum of decoration, much of which has been lost with usage and the passage of time.