American Native Arts and Antiques

Exceptional Current and Vintage Native American Arts

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Great Blue Heron Dance fan


An imposing Great Blue Heron standing stoically graces the birch bark handle of this dance fan. Partridge feathers, wing, tail and downy are atop the fan. Ancient Wabanaki designs are scraped/etched onto the birchbark. A stunning addition to your regalia or a gorgeous display piece. Scrape work, sometimes called "etching" is made by painstakingly scraping off the top layer of bark to show the contrasting layer below. This is carefully done by the artist to make the design or picture.

Paul St John, Mohawk (registered tribal member, his father's tribe) has been exploring very early birch bark etchings with help from his nephew who works at the Smithsonian and the Abbe Museums. Paul's mother is Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and MicMac, his nephew Isaac is a registered Maliseet.

This fan is 11.5" total length and 9,5" across at widest. The handle is 7.25" long and 6.25" across at widest. Front and back of the birch bark handle are affixed together with tidal sweet grass covering the joining of the the 2 sides. The handle is bordered with light blue dyed porcupine quill. The heron is of light, medium and darker blue dyed quills, it's beak is yellow dyed and there is a bit of black dyed quills form it's legs and a stripe near the top of it's head. The heron stands in some water of blue quill near a cattail of brown and green dyed quill. The strape/etched designs are on the front and back of the handle.

Great Blue Heron Dance Fan
Great Blue Heron Dance Fan - close up
Great Blue Heron Dance Fan - back
Weight: 12 oz