Collections: Arts of the Americas: Peyote Rattle

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    Peyote Rattle

    This peyote rattle was played during Native American Church ceremonies, which combine Native and Christian beliefs. Peyote is a hallucinogenic cactus that is ritually ingested in tea or dried form to induce visions, which are believed to help achieve more harmony with the universe. The gourd symbolizes the world, and the sound it makes represents prayers. The gourd’s zigzag decoration symbolizes Christ’s crown of thorns. The handle’s beaded lightning design, which signifies man’s ability to ascend from earth into heaven, is encircled by a red horsehair fringe that represents the rays of the sun at sunrise, the hour when Christ arose from the dead. The medal attached to the handle reads, “Behold the heart of Jesus is with me.”


    Esta maraca de peyote se tocaba durante ceremonias de la Iglesia Nativo Americana, en la que se combinan creencias nativas y cristianas. El peyote es un cactus alucinógeno que se ingiere ritualmente en forma de té o seco para inducir visiones, las cuales se cree que ayudan a alcanzar mayor armonía con el universo. La calabaza simboliza el mundo, y el sonido que produce representa a las plegarias. La decoración zigzagueante de la calabaza simboliza la corona de espinas de Cristo. El diseño relampagueante de las cuentas en el mango, el cual significa la habilidad el hombre para ascender desde la tierra al cielo, está rodeado por un borde rojo de crin de caballo que representa los rayos del sol al amanecer, la hora en que Cristo se levantó de entre los muertos. La medalla sujeta al mango dice, “Contemplad que el corazón de Jesús está conmigo.”

    • Culture: Osage, Native American
    • Medium: Gourd, glass beads, metal, feathers, brass, sinew, nut or seed, cork
    • Dates: late 19th-early 20th century
    • Dimensions: 27 9/16 x 2 3/4 in. (70 x 7 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Arts of the Americas
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 11.694.9059
    • Credit Line: Museum Expedition 1911, Museum Collection Fund
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Osage (Native American). Peyote Rattle, late 19th-early 20th century. Gourd, glass beads, metal, feathers, brass, sinew, nut or seed, cork, 27 9/16 x 2 3/4 in. (70 x 7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1911, Museum Collection Fund, 11.694.9059. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 11.694.9059_view2_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Catalogue Description: Culin purchased this rattle from Saucy Calf who explained the symbolism to Francis La Flesche. It would have been used in what is now the Native American Church. The gourd is painted with a zigzag line of red paint that represents the crown of thorns. The handle is worked with beads that represent lightning, divided into two parts by a band in the middle. The lower part of this band represents earth and the upper the sky, illustrating man ascending into heaven. The metal attached to the handle reads, “Behold the heart of Jesus is with me."
    • Record Completeness: Best (86%)
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