Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Snail House (Dancing Ermine Head Frontlet)

This is a picture of a frontlet, or, that belongs to the Snail House of Hoonah. A is a type of headdress that is carved of wood and displays a crest of the clan it is from. The frontlet is attatched to head gear made primarily of ermine skins, and is meant to be danced and seen in motion. The top of the frontlet is adorned with flicker (a species of bird) feathers and sea lion whiskers; the sea lion whiskers disperse eagle down that is hidden in the top of the headdress, a formal way of greeting guests in the house.

This frontlet directly references the Snail House front, and was collected in 1925 by Louis Shotridge. There is a very similar one that was made by David Williams as a replacement after the 1944 fire. The second piece is even more loyal to the house front, right down to the white background and eve of the house top. Both stand as two of the most important and impressive Tlingit masterpieces of the 20th Century.

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