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date: 09 December 2019

Gaagm sasoo [raven rattle; sheishoox]locked

  • Klisala Harrison

Extract

[raven rattle; sheishoox]

Zoomorphic vessel rattle of the Tsimshian people of the North American Pacific Northwest Coast. Indigenous oral histories suggest that the concept of the ‘raven rattle’ originated with the Tsimshian, but it is also used by the Haida, Nuuchahnulth, Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw, and Tlingit. The Tlingit, the most prolific carvers of the rattle, call it sheishoox, a seemingly onomatopoeic word.

The rattle is made of two hollowed sections of yellow cedar, alder, or maple wood. The outside is carved with a knife and polished with sharkskin or sandpaper. The handle is the bird’s tail. Typical dimensions are 10 cm wide and deep by 30 to 40 cm long. Small stones or buckshot are placed inside, and the two halves are sewn together with thin strips of vegetal fibre through small holes bored in the wooden pieces, one, two, or three stitches on each side. Withes bind the two halves of the handle together....

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