Native American Burl “Treen” Wood Scoop/Ladle

This is a burl wood hand scoop, or ladle, which is very possibly Native American in origin. These small spoons, bowls, and similar items, which are hand carved out of burl wood, are often called “treen” ware.

Treen is an old English word meaning “from the tree.” Treen refers to small utilitarian objects of wood such as: carved wooden spoons, bowls, snuffboxes, turned trenchers (plates), mortars, etc.

Burl treen refers to treen made from the burl, which is a knotty outgrowth of a tree. Before North America was settled by Europeans, Native Americans had a centuries old practice of using these burls for their bowls and ladles and were master wood workers.

One of the interesting things about this particular scoop is the patina, which is overall very dried out. But take a look at the handle portion, which retains a very smooth and almost polished patina from contact with the oils on human hands. That’s a pretty cool connection with the history of an item.

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