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Frontlet

Description:

Wooden frontlet of hawk gripping the head of a beaver. There are holes along the top for feathers or walrus whiskers but these are now missing. Two portions at the sides are of leather. It is made in one piece except for the claws which are separate wooden plugs. One is loose and has been wedged in with a piece of gut. It is set with plaques of abalone shell, some of which are missing. The hawk is pale blue with red lips and black eyebrows while the beaver is green with red lips and black eyebrows. Tribal chiefs from the Northwest Coast of North America wore special head ornaments on important occasions, such as the birth of their child. This wooden forehead ornament, inlaid with pieces of abalone shell, would have had feathers along the top, with ermine tails hanging down on each side. c. 1840