Raven Rattle (Primary Title)

Unknown (Artist)

ca. 1890
wood, pigment
North America,Pacific Northwest Coast
Overall: 14 × 3 × 4 in. (35.56 × 7.62 × 10.16 cm)
The shaman held a powerful position among indigenous tribes of the northwest coast. As a ceremonial leader, healer and agent to the spirit world, the shaman's role was vital for tribe survival. A Tlingit shaman would own a variety of dress accessories and other objects believed to have special powers that only he could summon. An essential item among a shaman's professional paraphernalia was the wooden Raven rattle, used for ceremonial purposes. The shaman's Raven rattle took the form of a short-necked, long billed bird with a recumbent human figure on the back. The rattle was held in the shaman's right hand and used in accompaniment with drums, beating sticks and ceremonial songs.
From the Robert and Nancy Nooter Collection, Arthur and Margaret Glasgow Endowment
Hear My Voice: Native American Art of the Past and Present
VMFA: 8/19/17 – 11/26/17
Museum of Shenandoah Valley: 2/17/18 – 7/22/18
Taubman Museum of Art: 9/29/18 – 01/06/19

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