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Copper (Tlakwa)

Catalogue Description:
The object,known as a "copper," was cut into the shape of a shield from a flat sheet of copper alloy and hammered out to produce the animal face on the upper section and the ridge on the lower section. The upper section of this copper contains either the head of a bear or a beaver and has exposed metal as well as black and white painted areas. The delineation of the animal head on the upper area was achieved by scratching through painted and exposed metal areas. The lower section of the copper has two black painted panels with a vertical ridge. On the back of the object, there is some corrosion that is stable. The object is in good condition with minor surface scratches overall. Coppers were used as status symbols and were important economical commodities for their owners. The owner could break off part of one during a potlatch ceremony to demonstrate his or her largesse although this one shows no signs of having been used this way.


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