Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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talking stick
  • Northwest Coast peoples
  • talking stick, late 1800s–2007
  • Where object was made: United States or British Columbia, Canada
  • wood, carving
  • Object Length/Diameter: 98.5 x 5 cm
    Object Length/Diameter: 38 3/4 x 1 15/16 in
  • Source unknown
  • Not on display
  • 2007.5718
Description

The length of light brown wood is carved with four stacked figures and an undecorated length at the bottom and top with a small knob. From the top;
figure one is a standing human figure, holding a caterpillar-like animal, in front of him. The animal is decorated with horizontal grooves and the eyes and head are at the lower end.
Figure two is a figure with a long beak, directed down the bird's chest, wings at the sides and indications of feathers on the wings and back, but none on the chest.
Figure three is a standing human figure with arms bent and hands hanging in front of the chest. The figure's head is not quite human, with large eyes, a small nose and a downturned mouth.
Figure four is also a standing figure, arms bent with hands in front of the chest, but not hanging as in figure three. The head is similar to figure three, but the nose is more prominent.

This was intended to indicate that the one who holds it has the power to speak.