Native American, Pacific Northwest, Tlingit, ca. first half of the 20th century CE. What a birdy-full rattle! This amazing carved wooden rattle takes the form of an oyster catcher. Below the wings, the body has been cut in half, hollowed, and filled with pebbles. Tiny holes drilled at the corners of each half allow the two pieces to be tied together, as they are now, with cord. The handle/tail is a projecting, slowly widening cone shape, nicely polished but uncarved and unpainted, giving it a clean look. The body is nicely carved and painted in red, blue, and black hues. Note the incised wings containing eye motifs in the center, a back that also presents an eye motif with tailfeathers below, and additional ornamental carving bridging the wings. The head has a long, slender beak and large black eyes surrounded by rounded borders. An elegant oyster catcher rattle that still produced a fabulous percussive sound! Size: 14.625" H (37.1 cm); 16.125" H (41 cm) on included custom stand.
This rattle depicts a characteristically long-billed oyster catcher which is traditionally regarded as a transformative animal, because while it lives in the sky, it can also dive below the water's surface for sustenance. Rattles like this have been traditionally used to cure the ill - shook over an afflicted person's body or given to a patient to provide protection.
Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection
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Minor surface wear. Carving and paint are well preserved. Produces a wonderful percussive rattling sound.