Two stone clubs

From the Northwest Coast, Northern America
Tsimshian territory, about AD 1-500

The stone clubs are pecked and ground. One is phallic, carved with a bird head, perhaps a raven, and the other with a fish, perhaps a salmon. A stone club with supernatural properties plays an important role in the stories of the establishment of Temlaham, the most famous of the ancestral homes of the Tsimshian.

Thirty-four similar clubs were excavated by Chief Johnny Muldoe of Hagwilget, North British Columbia, in 1898. Another example, from the Kitandach site in Prince Rupert Harbour has been dated to between AD 1 and AD 500. Stone materials of this type may have been in use for many centuries, if not millennia, before being buried or collected by Europeans.

The first club was collected by Peter Comrie MD during the 1860s at Fort [Port] Simpson. It was excavated in a garden in England, near the site of a Canadian military camp of the First World War (1914-18). It may have been brought over by a soldier as a memento or charm.

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More information

Bibliography

J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

Dimensions

Length: 25.000 cm
Length: 25.000 cm

Museum number

AOA 6782;AOA 1979.Am10.1

ENA2721;ENA13612

Location

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