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Slave Killer Club

Arts of the Americas

MEDIUM Stone, wood, abalone shell, hair, paint, resin
DATES mid-19th century
DIMENSIONS 20 x 11 x 4 1/2 in. (50.8 x 27.9 x 11.4 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 05.588.7289
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1905, Museum Collection Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Gwa'sala Kwakwaka'wakw (Native American). Slave Killer Club, mid-19th century. Stone, wood, abalone shell, hair, paint, resin, 20 x 11 x 4 1/2 in. (50.8 x 27.9 x 11.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1905, Museum Collection Fund, 05.588.7289. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 05.588.7289_front_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE front, 05.588.7289_front_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The object is also referred to as a war club. Its head is a large elongated rectangular stone that is inserted into a carved wooden handle. The handle has three faces, one on the top and the second and third on either side of the ax head. These faces have three rows of hair in small "ponytails" protruding from the ridge above the eyebrows. One of the hair "ponytails" has been cut off, leaving a stump of frayed hair sticking up on the proper left top side of the face. The underside of the handle has a carved seal and midway along the handle is a filled break. The object is painted black with white and red accents. There are inlayed areas of abalone shell around the base of the handle, the sides of the head, and in the eyes and teeth of the faces. The only missing shell inlay is from the base of the handle. The overall condition of the piece is fair and stable. According to Robin K. Wright, Burke Museum, 4/16/03, the face looks more Bella Bella (Heiltsuk).
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