An 18th Century French Linden Wood Carving of a Native American
An 18th century French carved Linden wood figure of a Native American. This is one of the most exciting objects I have found this year: bought in France, the dealer from whom I bought it described the figure as ‘Iroquois’. The French in 18th century Canada were familiar with both the Iroquois and the Huron people though seem to have had closer links with the latter. Perhaps, ‘Iroquois’ might best thought of as a kind of generic. What does excite me, however, is how this figure is so emblematic of the discourse of the “noble savage” and how that in turn plays into and shapes the French Enlightenment concept of humanity. Those thoughts can be seen aesthetically embodied in the modeling of this figure: the pose is erect but at ease, it has that kind of grace that feels no need to assert itself that we commonly think of as sophistication.