"Made from bills of Fratercula corniculata and Sunda cirrhata fastened to a wooden hoop from Uganok Island, Kodiak District. Used at dances and by shamans."
CATALOG NO: 90438
OBJECT TYPE: puffin beak rattle
Hoop rattles were ceremonial instruments used over a wide area in
Alaska, including many parts of the Northwest Coast. Archeological
data indicate that puffin beak rattles have been part of the material
culture of the Kodiak Alutiit for at least 600 years. Explorers'
accounts frequently describe their ceremonial use. As recorded in
1790 by Captain Billings, who led a navy expedition to the North
Pacific for the Russians beginning in 1785:
"Dancing and singing and drum beating culminate these celebrations.
The dancers paint their faces and hold rattles in their hands; the
rattles are made from two or three hoops of various widths, which are
fastened by a band decorated with feathers, used in place of a handle.
Many sea parrot beaks are tied to these hoops so that when they shake
the rattle to the drum beats, a very loud sound is produced..."
(Dmytryshyn et al. 1988:397).
While lacking the feathered band or strap described by Billings, the
rattle Fisher collected on Uganik Island is constructed of a wooden
cross frame with two hoops. Puffin beaks are attached with sinew