Haida, Attributed to Simeon Stilthda
Arts of the Americas
On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
Animals indigenous to the Northwest Coast region play prominent roles in this group of objects. Rattles were part of chiefs’ ceremonial dance regalia; the Tsimshian example depicts a shaman touching tongues with a frog as he rides on the back of a raven with another frog in its mouth. The clapper by the Haida artist Charles Edenshaw takes the form of a halibut with the face of the fish’s spirit represented on the tail. The Haida frontlet, which would have been attached to a headdress, represents a raven emerging from the mouth of a whale. The Tlingit soul catcher, of a type used by shamans to capture and protect people’s souls during healing ceremonies, depicts a whale with a fin rising from the center of its back.
Wood, abalone shell, pigment
7 x 5 3/4 x 2 1/4 in. (17.8 x 14.6 x 5.7 cm) (show scale)
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Haida. Crest Frontlet, 1850-1875. Wood, abalone shell, pigment, 7 x 5 3/4 x 2 1/4 in. (17.8 x 14.6 x 5.7 cm). Anonymous loan, L52.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, L52.3_SL1.jpg)
overall, L52.3_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Carved crest frontlet of red cedar with black and red paint applied to features. Crest design is totemic in nature. Design suggests the legend of the raven and the whale. At the top of the crest is a bird (raven possibly), with a haliotis-rayed sun-like background, emerging from or being swallowed by a whale. At the bottom is the head of a human being (or spirit possibly).
Condition: very good.
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