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Rattle in the Form of a Bird

Culture Nuu-chah-nulth ((Nootka))
Title Rattle in the Form of a Bird
Date Ca. 1875
Medium Wood
Dimensions Object: 6 1/2 × 5 3/4 × 19 1/8 in. (16.5 × 14.6 × 48.6 cm)
Overall: 6 1/2 × 5 3/4 × 19 1/8 in. (16.5 × 14.6 × 48.6 cm)
Credit Line Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 80.40

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About this Work

Rattles in the form of birds have been made by the Nuu-chah-nulth at least since the eighteenth century: several were collected by Captain James Cook in 1778. Emblems of a shaman’s or chief’s authority and treasured heirlooms, rattles were used to call the spiritual world in prayers and as accompaniment to dancers performing during events such as potlatch ceremonies. The form of this rattle, which resembles a seagull, is particularly elegant and graceful.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Rattle in the Form of a Bird | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.