Arts of the Americas
Wood, abalone shell, ermine skins, sea lion (?) whiskers, flicker feathers, eagle down feathers, cord, felt, pigment
14 1/4 x 7 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. (36.2 x 19.1 x 23.5 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Museum Expedition 1905, Museum Collection Fund
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Tsimshian (Native American). Headdress Frontlet, 19th century. Wood, abalone shell, ermine skins, sea lion (?) whiskers, flicker feathers, eagle down feathers, cord, felt, pigment, 14 1/4 x 7 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. (36.2 x 19.1 x 23.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1905, Museum Collection Fund, 05.588.7413. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 05.588.7413_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Headdress frontlet with a wooden bear crest, set within a frame, and painted red, green, and black. The back is unpainted. The frame as well as the bear's eyes, teeth, and paws have inlaid sections of carved abalone shell. Long ermine trailers hang down the back and sea lion whiskers stick out from the top. The headdress would have been worn for a Welcome or Peace Dance. The face's thick, heavy, black eyebrows help to corroborate this attribution. A fistful of eagle down feathers would be placed inside the center of the frontlet. As the chief danced and bowed and greeted his audience, the feathers would float out of his headdress symbolizing peace and friendship. In Tshimshian this was known as Am-halait or "power from the Sky."
CONDITION: The object is in fair and stable condition. Special care in handling the piece should be taken for it was treated with arsenic in the past.
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