Native American, Pacific Northwest, Tlingit peoples, ca. 1920s, collected in Sitka, Alaska by Louis Shotridge (1882-1937) for his personal collection. This is an incredible rattle made from a carved wooden pole with dozens of dried puffin beaks tied to one end by thin leather straps. The wooden handle is incised with traditional Pacific Northwest motifs depicting sea birds; the eyes are made of abalone shell, and an abalone shell disc is inlaid on the top of the handle as well. Puffin beaks are a common rattle material; during the fall mating season, the birds shed some of the horn-like plates on their bills, which are then used by native Alaskans to form rattles and ornaments. Size: 15.5" L (39.4 cm); 9.1" H (23.1 cm) on included custom stand.
Shotridge was a native Tlingit, born in southeastern Alaska. After he accompanied his wife, an accomplished Chilkat weaver, to an exhibition in Portland, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology contracted him to collect Tlingit artifacts. He worked with prominent anthropologists in the United States and Canada, and, in 1915, Louis became the Assistant Curator at the University Museum, a role he would hold for seventeen years.
Provenance: private Newport Beach, California, USA collection; ex-Louis Shotridge collection
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