Lot 10
  • 10

Northwest Coast Polychrome Wood Ceremonial Rattle, probably Tlingit

50,000 - 70,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • wood
of classic form, in two sections, with twine on the cylindrical grip, a birdlike face with hooked beak and form line details on the underbelly, the body in the form of a flying raven, holding a disk, probably a representation of the sun, in its slightly parted beak, its flattened backswept wings supporting a reclining shaman, with angular body and limbs, hands resting on his abdomen, and mask-like face, confronting another bird, with short backswept feather crest holding a frog in its long, narrow beak, the details finely incised and carved in shallow and sunk relief, a fine aged patina overall; Native repair in the form of a hide panel pegged to the back of the crest.


Acquired in 1972 from Michael R. Johnson Gallery, Seattle


Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 21-October 20, 1985 


Symbols of Prestige in Native American Indian Art from the Northwest Coast, Los Angeles County Musuem of Art, Ethnic Arts Series, no. 3, p. 13, Cat. no. 32

Catalogue Note

For a discussion of this rattle please see Symbols of Prestige in Native American Art of the Northwest Coast, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Ethnic Arts Series, no. 3, p. 13: "Social prestige and political power were commonly signaled by implements carried by leaders. These objects visibly extend the presence and manual force of their bearer while often projecting mystical values through sound and symbol. Many weapons and clubs serve these purposes as do rattles and staffs. Dance rattles were owned by chiefs and shamans who used them in ceremonies to establish and maintain contact with the world of supernaturals. Of the many Northwest Coast examples, the Raven rattle is the best known (cat. No. 32)...Curiously, Holm reports these rattles as having been used only by dancing chiefs, not shamans (1983:25)."

For a comparable rattle see Sotheby's New York, June 1997, lot 257.