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Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

Shaman's rattle

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Ovoid form in two parts, filled with pebbles, with cylindrical handle. Largely natural-colored wood with stylized, painted male face. Wide, arched, black eyebrows, pursed red lips, and four tufts of hair at the top of the head.


Collected by Captain Ira Harris (b. 1843), who served with Rear Admiral David Farragut aboard the steam sloop U.S. Hartford (1862-1866). Descended through Harris' family to his grandson and wife Thomas and Lillian Willins. The Willins consigned the piece to George Morril who consigned it to George Bell who sold the piece. The new owners sold the piece to Skinner, Inc. The Museum purchased the piece at a Skinner auction on January 9, 1993.

Credit Line

Seth K. Sweetser Fund

Native American (Tlingit), 1850–66

Object Place

Stikine region, Alaska, United States


29.21 x 12.7 x 11.11 cm (11 1/2 x 5 x 4 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Cedar, pigment, hair, metal, and rock material




Musical instruments, Idiophones