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Charm

  • Charm. Museum of the Americas. Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura

    Charm. Museum of the Americas. Madrid © Ministerio de Cultura

     
  

Category

Rites, worship and beliefs

Date

1774

Original title

Amuleto
Museum of the Americas
Madrid
Madrid
Madrid

A charm made from a walrus tusk, decorated with extraordinary delicate details and one of the most relevant ethnographic works in the museum.

This small sculpture represents a duck, with a perforated protuberance underneath, in which there is a cord and a fragment of tusk is hanging from it. It is the oldest piece from the Northeast Coast of America of which there is exact documentation of when it was found. It happened during the first Spanish expedition to Nootka, led by Juan Pérez in 1774. Thanks to the valuable information collected by the members of the expedition, we know that the chip on the beak is old, that a woman used to carry it, and that it was probably a charm for protection.

 

Details of the work

Object
Amulet

Dimensions
Height = 4.3 cm; Length = 6.9 cm; Width = 2.6 cm

Technique
Carved, etched, drilled and polished

Material
Walrus tusk, vegetable fibre and tooth

Place of production
Canada (North America)

  

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