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Roach Spreader

Arts of the Americas

MEDIUM White deer antler, golden eagle bone, hide thong, pigment, silk ribbon, eagle feather fragments
  • Place Made: United States
  • DATES early 19th century
    DIMENSIONS with ribbons : 16 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 1 7/8 in. (41.9 x 3.8 x 4.8 cm) without ribbons: 6 1/4 x 1 1/2 x 1 7/8 in. (15.9 x 3.8 x 4.8 cm)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 50.67.163
    CREDIT LINE Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Carved antler roach spreader. Designs made up of incised lines and pierced or "cut out' shapes elaborate the form of this flattened section of elk antler. The upper end of this hair ornament is a carved, elongated semi-circle, rounded at the top, but it is cut at the bottom to suggest the form of two figures which emerge at the shoulders, as if headless, with slightly flexed knees. The figures' torsos have cut triangular shapes pointing downwards. The elongated, lower section of the ornament is pierced with circles, a semicircle, narrow or linear crescents, and two pointed ovals. Each of the "cut-outs" is surrounded with an incised outline, most of them rubbed with red pigment, with the following exceptions: the inner legs of the two figures, on the shins from the knee to the ankle, are rubbed in black. A horn shaped outline is also rubbed in black. At the rounded end, beyond the bone tube is a cross, cut through the flat piece of antler. A faded ribbon, now off-white, is tied to the bone tube and a thin piece of thong is knotted underneath the tube, on the unornamented side of the antler plate. The spreader has lost any remnant of feathers or woodpecker beak that once may have adorned it coming out of the femoral bone tube.
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