Talking Stick with Senebeh style flower, brave's head by Penobscot Master carver, Joe Hugga Dana
PLEASE - click on photos below, they will open to show the entirety of the stick in first and last photo and more of the stick in all of the rest of the photos.
Hugga is an exceptional chip carver and artist. He is the son of Stan Neptune and was taught by his father to chip carve. Stan is the leading authority on Maine Indian chip carving, root clubs and walking sticks. In the process of learning Penobscot myths, history, legends and stories from Senabeh, a religious elder and root club carver, Stan picked up chip carving.
This stick is 13.25" long and about 1.25" in diameter.
Talking sticks were used in tribal council meetings, the only one who could speak was the one holding the talking stick. Talking sticks were decorated, but only here in Maine do the designs include chip carving. Chip carving is unique to the North East among Native Americans. The designs on this stick are all very traditional motifs and traditionally carved.
This is a brave's head talking stick. Braves/warriors wore only one or two feathers in their headdress, here this brave has 1 feather. Chiefs wore full feathered headdresses and here in the Northeast those feathers stand straight up around and encircle the head. This brave has an arrowhead necklace, below that is a plant design with elongated chip carved leaves. Beneath this is where traditionally a chip carved triangle with feather/leaf dangles attached would be. Here Hugga uses a stylized triangle, indented. It could be an arrow head or a spearhead. In this are several chip carved designs and from each top side hangs a small ash branch.
Below this in center of the talking stick handle is a Senabeh style flower, a design that Senabeh used on many of his carved pieces and it is a tribute to Senabeh that Hugga uses it here. Below the flower, at front bottom is a wigwam with the smoke from it's fire wafting upwards, on either side of the wigwam - ash branches.
These ash branches with chip carved leaves are a very old traditional design- ash is a sacred tree to the NE Native Americans. On the back is an arrow - with chip carved designs in the arrow shaft and at sides and end. Below that is the Penobscot morning star symbol. The chip carved leaves you see on the branch on the back of this stick are similar in Senabeh and Stan Neptune's work. The Brown ash tree figures in the Penobscot creation myth... the Penobscot's were made by an arrow piercing the brown ash tree and the splinters became the people. Please check out all the pics in the slide show to see several traditional designs around this stick and to see the full photo displayed.
Hugga has signed this on the back with his maker's mark; a lightning bolt