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Shaman's Charm or Soul Catcher

Arts of the Americas

On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
MEDIUM Bone or Ivory, abalone shell
DATES late 19th or early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 9 1/2 x 6 x 1 1/4 in. (24.1 x 15.2 x 3.2 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
CREDIT LINE By exchange
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CAPTION 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
IMAGE overall, 73.110_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION 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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Shamans Charm or Soul Catcher