Collections: Arts of the Americas: Oyster Catcher Rattle

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

On View: Relief of a Royal Face

Several details indicate that this fragmentary head represents a king. The long back of the headdress and the side pieces that almost encirc...

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Ushabti of Psamtek

    The Egyptians manufactured funerary figurines, originally called shabties, as early as Dynasty 12 (1932–1759 B.C.E.). The earliest sha...


    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.


    05.273_view1_bw.jpg 05.273_view2_bw.jpg 05.273_view3_bw.jpg 05.273_view4_bw.jpg 05.273_view5_bw.jpg 05.273_view6_bw.jpg 05.273_view7_bw.jpg

    Oyster Catcher Rattle

    Rattles are shaken by a shaman over an afflicted person’s body or left with the patient for protection. This example depicts a long-billed bird called an oyster catcher, thought to be a transformative animal because it lives in the sky yet dives beneath the water for sustenance. Riding on the bird’s back is a shaman who is being transformed into a land otter with a long tail terminating in a horned monster face. The bird’s webbed feet are carved on the underside of the rattle.

    Las maracas son sacudidas por un chamán sobre el cuerpo de la persona enferma o se dejan con el paciente como protección. Este ejemplo muestra un ave de largo pico llamada cazador de ostras, el cual se cree es un animal de transformación ya que vive en el cielo, pero bucea bajo el agua para conseguir alimento. Cabalgando a espaldas del pájaro se ve a un chamán que se transforma en una nutria de cola larga terminada en una cara monstruosa con cuernos. Los pies palmados del ave están tallados al reverso de la maraca.

    • Culture: Tlingit, Native American
    • Medium: Wood, abalone shell
    • Possible Place Made: Koskimo, British Columbia, Canada
    • Dates: late 19th century
    • Dimensions: 9 x 13 x 5 in. (22.9 x 33 x 12.7 cm)  (show scale)
    • Collections:Arts of the Americas
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in Arts of the Americas Galleries, 5th Floor
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 05.273
    • Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Collection
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Tlingit (Native American). Oyster Catcher Rattle, late 19th century. Wood, abalone shell, 9 x 13 x 5 in. (22.9 x 33 x 12.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Museum Collection, 05.273. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: left, 05.273_view1_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    • Catalogue Description: Chief's or shaman's rattle of carved wood with abalone inlay. Long billed bird with possibly the shaman himself riding on the birds back, the back has become a land otter with a long tail. The tail ends as if it is a monster face at the land otters tail and horns take the place of ears. The underside of the rattle has a beaked bird with web feet upturned. Koskimo location is now called Tla-o-qui-aht. This was once catalogued as depicting the legend of Ka-ka-tete,[Ka-tia-hete] the whistling demon. Examined by Bill Holm 11/71 and called the finest example of its kind. Condition: Thongs holding it together are gone, now glued. Three abalone eyes gone. Tlingit attribution based on stylistic evidence. Original attribution was Kwakwaka'wak. This acession number assigned to it in c. 1930 when first record was made.
    • Record Completeness: Best (91%)
    advanced 110,573 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.