Ceremonial Rattle

Ceremonial Rattle

Tlingit raven rattle, commonly called a ‘Chief's Rattle’

Made of birch with the handle wrapped in tanned moose hide. Black, green and red colours in design.

The ‘chief's’ rattle was usually carved to represent a raven. The heavily stylized rattle is carved in the traditional Tlingit raven form, noted for their long bill with a gradual curve at the end. The chief was a community leader as well as a man with high ranking. The chief's rattle, as it was commonly called, was used for festive occasions and special ceremonies. When in use, the chief held it upside down, so that the raven could not 'fly away'. This particular rattle design displays a hawk on the raven breast and has a sun in the raven's beak. This design surely represents a Tlingit myth time story. It is difficult to be sure what the carver had exactly in mind when designing the rattle however a Tlingit viewer certainly would have had the creation myth of raven and the sun come to the mind.


George Johnston Museum, Teslin

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