Effigy Plummet, Form of Roseate Spoonbill
Arts of the Americas
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, The Americas’ First Peoples, 4000 B.C.E.–1521 C.E.
These plummets (hanging weights, sometimes used on fishing lines) are among more than three hundred that have been found in a site north of Weeden Island, Florida. Their abundance has led to the theory that they were probably not simple fishing tools but ornaments suspended from the neck or waist of high-status individuals (or perhaps commoners) during special ceremonial dances. Often they are plain tapered stones, but rare figurative examples such as these three represent local wildlife.
Middle Woodland Period
Gift of Mrs. William B. Parker
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Woodlands, Deptford culture. Effigy Plummet, Form of Roseate Spoonbill, 200-500 C.E. Stone, 4 x 3 1/2 in. (10 x 9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. William B. Parker, 64.211.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 64.211.2_64.211.1_64.211.3_PS9.jpg)
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Plummet in the form of the carved head of a bird. The feathers are indicated sweeping around the neck. The top knot is perhaps characteristic of the bird’s species. The end is tapered possibly for tying on a cord for suspension. The end is tapered possibly for tying on a cord for suspension. Suggested uses for these types of plummets are: weights to be used in weaving, sinkers for fishing, personal talismans or ornamental pendants suspended from the neck or waist either by the elite class or by commoners for dance performance display. There is an early sketch of several dancers wearing such plummets dangling from their waists entertaining what appear to be elite people. Hundreds of these plummets have been found mostly just tapered so these are especially fine as carved to represent local fauna.
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