Introduction Patagonia Andes Amazon Mesoamerica / Caribbean Southwest Plains / Plateau Woodlands California / Great Basin Northwest Coast Arctic / Subarctic Contemporary Art

Skidi Pawnee rattle
ca. 1890
Gourd, wood, hide, pigment
27 x 10 cm

This rattle represents Tirawahat, the universe and ancient supreme being of the Pawnees. The inscribed stars identify the four sectors of the universe and the deities that preside over each. The Black Star, thunder, rules the northeastern sky. The Red Star, lightening, rules the southeastern sky. The White Star, wind, rules the southwest. And, the Yellow Star, clouds, rules the northwest. Tirawahat created everything. The four stars then sang and struck the earth, separating the land from the water and providing a place to live for people, who were soon to be created.

Tom Evans (Skidi Pawnee)

Back to Top