On the bottom center front of this talking stick Joe Hugga Dana, Penobscot has placed an incised butterfly, similar to one's his father's mentor carved. 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 15.5" 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 wore 1 or 2 feathers in their hair or headdress while chiefs wore full feathered headdresses and here in the Northeast those feathers stand straight up around and encircle the head. The carved face of the brave and his feather are at top front of this stick, below the brave's face is a traditional chip carved, incised design, an incised double cuve with a chip carved triangle between the curves and long chip carved ovals/feathers on the top of this triangle. As is traditional some bark is left on this stick, above and below the brave's head and behind the head. Below the bark on the front is a traditional cross-hatched incised triangle with long oval dangles - feathers/leaves?. Below this triangle design is the butterfly, with wings deeply incised ... a stripes and circle design on each wing, lightly incised antenna are above the sets of wings.
Below the butterfly and framing the bottom 2 wings of the butterfly there are ash branches with chip carved leaves- ash is a sacred tree to the NE Native Americans. On the back is Hugga's maker's mark/signature. A lightning bolt with Hugga's stylized double curve on either side (a greek key like curve) -- his initials "JD" are on top one side of the lightning bolt, the date carved on bottom of other side.
The ash branches with chip carved leaves you see on the bottom front and sides 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. If you click on a photo you will be able to see all of it not just a square of it