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Rattle of a ‘medicine man’ or Chief, North America, 1801-1900

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The Haida people of North West Coast America made this carved wooden rattle. It takes the form of a raven. Such objects were often part of the chiefly regalia. They were normally one of a pair. The rattle was possibly also used by a shaman (a Sah-gah). Men and women could become shamen within Haida cultures. However, the role was usually held by a high ranking male. The raven rattle is decorated with a second small bird and an anthropomorphic figure on its back. This is thought to represent a shaman extracting knowledge from the animal world through the extended tongue joining them together.

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Glossary: rattle

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