with both upper and lower sections carved in bas relief resembling avian features; center of staff carved with 43 rounded segments, suggestive of vertebrae, and having seven of these segments gradually notched on alternating sides, total length 60 in.
early 19th century
Similar examples of this type of staff can be found in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History (catalogue nos.16.1/1583 and 19/639)
Henry Collins discusses in his book The Far North, the purpose of staffs such as this example. Staffs were used to provide emphatic punctuation to the chief's distribution of presents, by being thumped down when the name of each recipient was called... similar staffs or wands would also have been used by a shaman in his ritual dances (1977: 173).
Condition: Dating from an e-mail sent by Steve Brown (2008);