The Quinault Indians inhabited what is now the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, living along the coast, and are a distinct group of people that comprise the larger Salish complex of tribes. The most striking examples of their sculptural traditions are found in their highly stylized "power figures", represented in this lot.
For a comparable example to this one and identified as a rattle see Bill Holm, The Box of Daylight: Northwest Coast Indian Art, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 1983, p. 30: "This little figure is much more than a rattle. In fact its function as a rattle is secondary to its real purpose, the giving of assistance to a shaman at work. A number of similar carvings are known and something of their use and significance is recorded. It is a representation of a spirit helper of the shaman, said to look just like that spirit experienced by the owner in a trance. The facial painting of yellow forehead, red from brow to cheek, and pink chin are just as the spirit appeared."
For a further discussion of style and attribution see Paul S. Wingert, American Indian Sculpture: A Study of the Northwest Coast, J.J. Augustin, New York, 1949, p. 66; and plates 1-6 for illustrations of comparable examples in the Field Museum and Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
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