Ball-Headed Club

Ball-Headed Club

late 1700s-early 1800s

Wood (maple?)

Overall: 58.6 x 7.8 x 13.1 cm (23 1/16 x 3 1/16 x 5 3/16 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1991.21

Description

This club carries one of the richest known records of images representing Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) clan (nindoodem) identities; clan relationships shaped native politics through the 1800s. Included is an antlered creature, perhaps a caribou, along with mammals, birds, and powerful spirit beings: the thunderbird, its wings outstretched, and perhaps the long-tailed underwater panther. The ball at the striking end is held in a jaw-like form that likely refers to an animal’s muzzle; such imagery invoked a protector being that endowed the club’s owner with power.

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