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Attributed to Saayina aat Tlingit

Not on view

Forged from a single piece of iron, this dagger belongs to a group of related works whose subject is an emaciated shaman. The pommel has been transformed into a forbidding double-faced human head whose gaze and gaunt facial features may depict a being who fortified the weapon’s owner against evil forces. Perforations along the brow and the pierced septum of the figure’s aquiline nose may have once held adornments. The artist could have obtained the iron from a meteor or through trade. This work was an important heirloom passed down through the Lukaax.adi clan of Haines, Alaska, and was used in potlatch ceremonies.

Dagger, Attributed to Saayina aat (Tlingit), Iron, tanned leather, wool cloth, vegetal fiber, and human hair, Tlingit, Native American

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