Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Rattle

Date:
ca. 1880
Geography:
British Columbia, Canada
Culture:
Native American (Haida or Tsimshian)
Medium:
Wood, string, pigment
Dimensions:
Height: 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm)
Diameter: 6 in. (15.2 cm)
Classification:
Idiophone-Shaken-rattle
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
89.4.1963
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 356
Rattles like this were most likely used during dance rituals of the Haida or Tsimshian. Spherical in shape with two diametrically opposed faces, this rattle represents typical carving of Northwest Coast people, exhibiting form-line carving in low relief. The cutaway—darkened—sections represent an equally significant aspect of the composition. Low-relief carving in this style makes a play on the relationship between negative and positive space. One side of the rattle depicts a face in quintessential form-line ornament, with ovoid and U-shaped realizations of the space between the form-lines. The opposite side of the rattle depicts a hook-nosed bird figure, possibly a hawk or raven, the nose protruding from the low relief of the face. There is evidence of red and black pigment as embellishment on both sides of rattle. This wooden rattle is constructed in two pieces carved to form a hollow chamber. Small holes carved near edges of both pieces are threaded with vegetal lacing and pinned with iron nails to secure the two halves together, along with the wrapping at the base of handle.
Nathan, Joseph and Co. ; Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown
Jayson Kerr Dobney, Bradley Strauchen-Scherer. Musical Instruments: Highlights of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. First Printing. @2015 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. New York, 2015, pp. 126-127, ill.

"The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Its Origin and Development." Metropolitan Museum Journal (1970), vol. 3, pg. 346, ill.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Oceanica and America. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1913, vol. II, pg. 97, ill.

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