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Crest Frontlet

Haida, Attributed to Simeon Stilthda

Arts of the Americas

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.
MEDIUM Wood, abalone shell, pigment
DATES 1850–1875
DIMENSIONS 7 x 5 3/4 x 2 1/4 in. (17.8 x 14.6 x 5.7 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Anonymous loan
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION 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.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION 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)
IMAGE overall, L52.3_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Haida. <em>Crest Frontlet</em>, 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)