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WILLIAM J FISHER COLLECTION
PUFFIN BEAK RATTLE

COLLECTOR'S DOCUMENTATION:
"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."

-William Fisher

CATALOG NO:  90438
OBJECT TYPE:  puffin beak rattle

REMARKS:

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 cord.

-Dee Hunt

CATALOG NUMBER:

90438

OBJECT TYPE:

puffin beak rattle

ACCESSION NO.:

14024 (1884)

YEAR COLLECTED:

1883

FIELD NUMBER:

84

GROUP NAME:

no data

GROUP NAME RECORDED BY FISHER:

NOT SPECIFIED

LOCATION:

Uganuut (Uganik)

LOCATION RECORDED BY FISHER:

UGANUK ISLD, KODIAK

NATIVE LANGUAGE TERM:

unidentified

NATIVE LANGUAGE TERM RECORDED BY FISHER:

KALCH-NEI-AT

DIMENSIONS:

Diam=23 cm; H with beaks hanging down=8 cm

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