Shaman’s Rattle

Northwest Coast, Canada

Oystercatcher Rattle

Carved wood and pigments
19th century
Length: 12 in. (30.5 cm)

Ex collection Jacques Kerchache, Paris, 1960s
Ex collection Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, acquired in 1965
Ex Christie’s New York, 8 June 1995, Lot 13

Exhibition & literature:
Amérique du Nord, Jacques Kerchache, 1965, plate 27

Published: Voyages… From the North Pacific to the South Pacific in the wake of Captain Cook, 2019

Price: sold

America – Northwest Coast
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According to Allen Wardwell (in Tangible Visions, The Monacelli Press inc., New York, 1996), the rattle is a very important piece of shamanic equipment along the entire Northwest Coast. Its sound provided rhythm for songs, dances and chants, and attracted spirits to the séances. Wherever it was used, a supernatural presence was thought to be in attendance. Although some round rattles were made for potlatch and secret society ceremonies, the majority were used by shamans.