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date: 07 December 2019

Ṣawkuḍ [shawikuth]locked

  • Mary Riemer-Weller
  • , revised by J. Richard Haefer



Vessel rattle of the Tohono O’odham (Papago) Indians of southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico. It is made from a dried gourd (Largenaria siceraria) about 15 cm in diameter and 20 cm long. The stem end is cut off just beneath the body and large stones or pieces of broken glass are placed inside and shaken to clean the interior. The gourd is then boiled to make it harder, to sharpen the sound. Many small pebbles from the edge of desert anthills are used for the rattle elements, though some players prefer four larger stones obtained from the Gulf of California.

A handle is carved from cottonwood tree root and fitted to the open end of the gourd; the handle extends through the top of the gourd where it is secured by a small wooden peg. If it does not fit tightly, gummy secretions from the creosote bush can be used as glue. Small soundholes are drilled in the body. The tip of the handle may be decorated with downy eagle feathers....

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