You are here:
  1. Inicio
  2. Collections
  3. Ethnology
  4. Haida Amulet

Haida Amulet

Pulse para ampliar

Dated: pre-1774

Cultural Context: Haida style

Origin: Queen Charlotte Archipelago (British Columbia, Canada)

Medium: Walrus tusk/ Vegetable fibre/Tooth

Technique: Carved/Incised/Perforated/Polished

Dimensions: Height = 4.3 cm; Length = 6.9 cm; Width = 2.6 cm

Inventory no.: 13042

Amulet depicting a duck with folded wings and an incised eye design. The lower part of the bird has a perforated extension through which a string passes and from which a fragment of tusk hangs. This small sculpture, made from a walrus tusk and decorated with extraordinary delicacy, is one of the most important ethnographic works in the Museum of the Americas. It is the oldest piece from the Northwest Coast for which there is precise documentation attesting to its collection. It was acquired during the first Spanish expedition to Nootka led by Juan Pérez in 1774. The piece is recorded in the document of remittance to Spain as "A very fine and finely made vine bag or pouch; and in it a kind of bone Bird with a broken upper beak, rescued from an Indian who had it around her neck with a number of small teeth, apparently from a small caiman". Thanks to the valuable information gathered by the expedition force, we know that the break in the beak is ancient and that its wearer was a woman. We can also likely assume that the amulet’s function was protective.