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Carved Necklace

Arts of the Americas

On View: Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
Tlingit shamans of the Pacific Northwest Coast wore objects that were decorated with images of supernatural spirit helpers, or yeik, who assisted during curing ceremonies. These yeik could appear in either animal or human form and are represented on a variety of shaman paraphernalia, including necklaces like this one. The thirty-six-piece necklace contains ten elaborately carved figures, including a sea otter, a raven-eagle, a wolf, and a whale. It is uncertain if the necklace belonged to a shaman, or even if these charms originally belonged to the same object.


Los chamanes Tlingit de la Costa Noroeste del Pacífico utilizaban objetos que estaban decorados con imágenes de espíritus ayudantes sobrenaturales, o yeik, quienes los asistían durante ceremonias. Estos yeik podían aparecer en su forma animal o humana, y están representados en gran variedad de la parafernalia chamánica, incluyendo collares como éste. El collar de treinta y seis piezas contiene diez figuras elaboradamente talladas, entre ellas una nutria marina, un cuervo-águila, un lobo y una ballena. Se desconoce si este collar perteneció a un chamán, o si estos amuletos originalmente pertenecían al mismo objeto.
MEDIUM Bone, ivory, teeth
  • Place Made: Alaska, United States
  • DATES 19th century
    DIMENSIONS 31 7/8 in. (81 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 05.271
    CREDIT LINE Brooklyn Museum Collection
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Tlingit (Native American). Carved Necklace, 19th century. Bone, ivory, teeth, 31 7/8 in. (81 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, 05.271. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 05.271_acetate_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 05.271_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION This necklace is made from 36 pieces of bone, teeth and ivory that are presently strung on a cord. It is unknown whether they originally belonged together and were on this cord or they have been joined at a later time. Ten of the pieces are elaborately carved into complex figures. Eight of the short teeth have a dot design on them. Other teeth appear to have been left natural and unmodified except for piercing a hole for a cord on one end.
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