Images from The Graese
Raven Dance Rattle by Ken Kidder, Poulsbo, Washington, ca. 2005
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NMM 10905. Raven dance rattle by Ken Kidder, Poulsbo, Washington, ca. 2005. Two-piece construction; split down length of handle and rattle body, forming deep, spoon-shaped lower portion and shallow, lid-like upper portion; secured with 4 wooden spikes and vegetal twine. Rattle contains copper BBs. Kidder is among the finest artists of Tlingit woodcarving, a style found on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America. Gift of André P. Larson, Vermillion, 2005.
Symbolism of the Raven Rattle
The carvings found on historic raven rattles are part of a Haida artistic tradition that has not yet been fully decoded or thoroughly understood. It is believed that the carving on these rattles depicts the Haida myth of the raven that brought sunlight to mankind (represented here by a small, abalone-shell "box of light" carried in the raven's beak). A shaman initiate, who reclines against the raven's head, draws inspiration and knowledge from the animal world through the tongue of a frog, which itself is held in the mouth of a mythical bird related to the woodpecker. The raven's breast bears the image of Konankada, the chief of the undersea world.
Raven rattles were traditionally the possessions of Haida chiefs who played them in pairs to dramatize ceremonial events. They were closely associated with the start of the salmon-running season in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest because their sound was said to be reminiscent of salmon fins breaking through the surface of the water while the fish swam upstream to their spawning grounds.
Maker's Mark on Bottom of Handle
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