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Gourd dance rattle with a feather top and beaded handle / Barry Belindo


The tip is composed of 12 small feathers (gray and blue with white tips) in white buckskin sleeves grouped around the tip of the dowel forming the handle (like a loose feather fan). The top of the dowel is covered in gourd stitch beadwork in cut beads (green, white, navy, brown, red, orange, yellow). The gourd is an aluminum cylinder with a black plastic screw top. This is drilled through lengthways (at the center of the top and bottom) to allow the handle to pass through. Stone, metal shot or some other small hard objects are placed inside to sound the rattle. The plastic lid faces the bottom of the rattle. Beneath the lid is a 2 inch section of gourd stitch beadwork in the same colors and rainbow design as found above. 6 inches of the handle are left undecorated. Beneath this, the final 2 inches of the handle are beaded to match the above sections. Beneath the beaded end of the handle there are 10 2-play twisted fringes of white (shoe polished) buckskin attached. These are 7 inches long.

Curatorial Remarks

Used in the gourd dance which occurs during larger social events like powwows. The gourd clan is a formally organized group of dancers that has their own society. They dress their own way, have their own song and dances, and their own rattles. The rattle is an aluminum salt shaker attached to the handle. The gourd dance was originally Kiowa, but it spread throughout the United States. The local gourd clan will support other groups during larger social dances.

Tags: gourd dance, beaded, Rattle
People: Kiowa
Places: Southern Plains, Oklahoma, Western US
Purpose: ceremonial use

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

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Gourd dance rattle with a feather top and beaded handle
Barry Belindo (Artist)
Native American; Kiowa
20th century
gourd, feather, hide, thread, glass
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