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Baton

Object Number:NA8495
Current Location: Collections Storage
Culture:Tlingit
Provenience: United States of America
Alaska
Sitka
Culture Area: Northwest Coast Culture Area
Locus: Sitka Kaagwaantaan Clan
Wolf House
Section:American
Materials:Wood
Hair
Pigment
Length: 372.5 cm
Width: 24.6 cm
Credit Line:Wanamaker Expedition to the Northwest Coast; Louis Shotridge, 1918

Description

Painted dance baton called "Keyt-gooshe" or, "Killer whale's dorsal fin," carried by a presenter in conducting the ceremonial dance songs. The thin, wooden body is designed to flex as it moves which then tells the dancers how to react. A killer whale's head is carved into the lower end of the baton. Fringe along the back of the lower end is made from hair and represents the breath of the whale. Wool fringe under the whale's head represents water and the red circle toward the center of the baton is used to identify the whale. On the front, an eagle is painted spotting a salmon, which is depicted at the tip of the baton. On the back, a similar design is painted but the eagle is ready to attack, as indicated by the raised tail feathers, and the salmon is aware and ready to defend. (Shotridge, 1919, Museum Journal v. X, no. 4, p. 213)

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