Shaman's Charm or Soul Catcher
Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
Bone or Ivory, abalone shell
late 19th or early 20th century
9 1/2 x 6 x 1 1/4 in. (24.1 x 15.2 x 3.2 cm) (show scale)
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Tlingit (Native American). Shaman's Charm or Soul Catcher, late 19th or early 20th century. Bone or Ivory, abalone shell, 9 1/2 x 6 x 1 1/4 in. (24.1 x 15.2 x 3.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, By exchange, 73.110. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 73.110_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Object is a flattish, hollow bone, shaped like a whale with a fin rising from the center of its back. On the fin is a carved face with mouth and teeth indicated. At one end of the whale is an open mouth. Throughout object are carved geometric forms: U-shapes, circles, and elipses forming another mouth, teeth, eyes and nostrils. Several incisions are filled with abalone shell; three pieces of shell are missing. On back of object, at either side of fin, are two holes equal in size.
Thought to be used by a Shaman this would be used to catch or hold the ill person's soul while healing ceremonies would be performed. When finished with healing the person's soul would be retunred to his or her body.
Condition: A portion of one end of the charm is void. Two holes of equal size appear on its back, one on either side of the fin.
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