BURNABY, B.C., CANADA – A Tlingit shaman’s oystercatcher rattle is sure to be a powerful force as Seahawk Auctions conducts a Native American Art & Artifacts auction June 6. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.
The black oystercatcher is a Pacific Coast shorebird. To a Tlingit shaman inhabiting the northwest shores of North America, the oystercatcher inhabiting the border world between water and land was in parallel with the shaman’s role between the human and spirit worlds.
“Unlike a chief, who would have commissioned someone to carve a rattle, the shaman would have carved this rattle himself. That’s how he gets the power to heal. He actually used this rattle in ceremonies,” said Bill Neville of Seahawk Auctions.
The rattle, which is 12 3/4 inches long, depicts a reclining shaman holding the large horns of a goat or sea monster. Carved around 1880, the rare rattle is from the June Bedford Collection and has been exhibited in London, said Neville. It is estimated at $27,600-$55.300 U.S.
Another rarity in the auction is an early Wasco burl bowl carved with two skeleton figures. The Wasco are a Chinookan tribe that formerly lived on the south side of Columbia River, in what is now Wasco County, Ore. The 13 1/2-inch high bowl was used as a mortar and will be sold with a basalt pestle.
“I don’t know if it had ceremonial use or it was an everyday piece, but I have never seen the skeleton design before,” said Neville. The bowl has an estimate of $5,500-$11,000.
An exceptionally large Western Apache gathering basket from the turn of the 20th century is expected to fetch $6,900-13,8000. The design features 32 stacked figures, 20 crosses and four deer in a complex checkered diamond cross pattern. It is in very good condition and is 10 3/4 inches high and 20 inches in diameter.
Numerous beaded items will be offered including a 19th-century Great Lakes beaded bandolier bag from the Michael Johnson Collection in London. In fine condition, the bag is 40 inches high and 13 1/2 inches wide. It carries a $2,500-$5,000 estimate.
An all-original Ojibwa loom beaded bandolier bag is older (circa 1860) and larger (16 inches wide), but is described by Neville to have some bead and wool loss. It has a $2,900-$6,000 estimate.
Estimated to bring $2,100-$4,100 is a 19th-century Sioux vest sinew sewn on buffalo hide. A small size, the vest is estimated at $2,100-$4,100.
A Northwest Coast carved beaver-form frontlet inlaid with abalone is in fine condition. This ceremonial piece was worn against the forehead, but did not cover the face. It measures 8 1/2 inches wide by 8 1/4 inches high. Its estimate is $2,900-$6,000.
The auction will be conducted at Engineers Auditorium, 4333 Ledger Ave. in Burnaby beginning at 11 a.m. Pacific. For details phone 604-657-2072.
View the fully illustrated catalog and register to bid absentee or live via the Internet by logging on to www.LiveAuctioneers.com.
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