Eyak Ceremonial Paddle


H.2966 Dance stick of wood, paddle shaped with round shaft and narrow blade, ending with a raven’s head with a partly broken beak. The item is painted in a white color, the shaft also with a red belt, blade and ravens head with black edges. On the blade’s edges are depictions, painted with red and black color, of the face of a mythical creature and 2 salmon (?). Length 1.66 m. of which the shaft is 0.66 m.

From the Eyak people at the mouth of the Copper River, Alaska. Used at the Feast of the dead to announce the coming of the Raven’s clan. A corresponding piece at the Philadelphia University Museum was carried into the house later to express the joy of the clan over the feast. Both pieces belonged to a woman, who kept them in memory of her father, and they are, as far as is known, the only preserved ceremonial pieces from the Eyak people. Depicted in "The University Museum Bulletin", Bd. V, No.2, Pl.X. Philad. 1934

[H.]2966 comes from Dr. Kaj Birket-Smith's expedition to Alaska in 1933 along with H.2955 and P.529-1331. Journ. 97/23.