Thursday, November 12, 2009

Random Discoveries

This last week our enormous basketry show went up at Griffith Park and it is fantastic! Locals should definitely go look, - we all love it. Ten Native basket weavers from across the country curated the show from our collection of nearly 14,000 cataloged baskets. It is the largest collection of its type in the world. A few of the weavers came for a visit the following Monday to see our collection in situ for the first time, as they did all their work for the show from photos. A few of the visitors noticed the little collection of seal gut items that Ozge re-shaped. This bag was sitting with these things. The white pieces inside are piece of foam covered with teflon that Ozge used to help the bag keep its shape after the humidification. The visitors told us that this Northern Athabaskan bag is actually the membrane from a caribou heart. I guess we thought it was maybe a bladder of some sort, but when you look at the shape it becomes clear. There was no information in the database save several question marks.

Then today I opened a box for processing and found this tiny metal container.
What could this be, I wondered. So I opened it...

And it turned out to be a teeny tiny gun, a teeny tiny ramrod, and a capsule of teeny tiny blanks.

Actually there were a bunch of teeny tiny blanks in a little shaving kit container. This was donated by a Col. George Ball. He was on a business trip in Mexico and was held up. President Porfirio Diaz read about this in the paper and, being a friend of Ball's, sent him this pistol set and told him to carry it with him for protection! Ceci and I went crazy looking it over, peering down the barrel wondering if it fires. Upon further web research we discovered it does indeed fire and thankfully we didn't find out the hard way. Imagine that worker's comp claim. We found a video on Youtube of someone loading one and firing it.
I get home and can't wait to show Ash - Look! Look at the tiny pistol!!! Ash just looks and says - Oh yeah, when I was a kid I had a tie clip tiny pistol and it had the exact same blanks, and yes it does indeed fire and it's much louder than you would expect. He thinks it's probably still in his family's home somewhere. Next visit - find that gun!

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