Gilcrease Museum is temporarily closed for construction.

Get the Full Story

Gourd peyote rattle with wooden handle / Unknown

Curatorial Remarks

Every participant in a meeting would have their own rattle, but women may not be full members of the Native American Church. The men would sing while using their rattle, and one drummer (man) would play along. Rattles are private property. Most native groups use gourds for rattles, but they may also use turtle shells or other hollow vessels. Some groups carve rattles from wood or create basketry rattles. The top of the rattle may represent a symbolic Native American person. The rattle is sometimes believed to be one of the first musical instruments in existence, and rattles can have different sounds. Peyote meetings occur in the fall, spring, and during special events such as funerals or illness. Sometimes, a carved handle with a break in it may symbolize the division between the upper world and lower world.

Tags: gourd, Rattle
People: Native American Church
Places: Southern Plains, Oklahoma
Purpose: ceremonial use

From interviews with Dr. Garrick Bailey, 2018-2020 University of Tulsa, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology

You may be interested in...

Gourd peyote rattle with wooden handle
Native American
19th century
gourd, wood, hide, glass, horsehair
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
Previous Number(s): 
Not On View

Our Online Collections site is a work in progress. If you have information about this item that may be of assistance, please contact us.