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.
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