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A carved chief's head is atop this talking stick by Erik Sappier, Penobscot/Abenaki carver. Chief's heads, brave's heads and turtles are the traditional carvings atop Wabanaki talking sticks. This beautifully detailed talking stick also features a large flower on the back . Erik Sappier's work is included in a recent Abbe Museum's exhibit.... "Emergence: Root Clubs of the Penobscot Nation". For more about Erik see the bio section on this website.
This stick is exquisitely detailed. Erik uses traditional designs with several variations on a traditional style chip carved talking stick, most are design elements that have been used by Erik's ancestors for centuries. Unlike some talking sticks, all the bark on this one has been removed. Traditionally usually bark been left on the top of these sticks - but as here, not always.
It is 13.25" long and about 1.25" in diameter
This talking stick has at top - the chief's head, he is wearing a traditional fully feathered headdress - feathers upright all around the head. The feathers arise from a headband which would have been beaded - here in a V ^ design... and here the feathered headdress goes all around the stick, the chief's hair is below it on the back of the stick. On this stick, beneath the chief's face is a diamond design that has a chip carved diamond at it's center chip carved triangles either side on the top and large ash branches flowing outward on either side. The ash branches have chip carved elongated oval leaves. More about ash branches at bottom of description.
Below the diamond on the front - are a series of 4 connected diamond shapes each with 6 chip carved triangles inside of them... incised oval leaves are at the outer corners of each of the 4 diamonds.. these leaves have an inner elongated chip carve oval at the center.
At lower center of the back is a large flower with many incised petals and a round center. Above and below this flower is an ash branch - carved as is the ash branch described above.
On the mid-back between the chief's parted hair iis Erik's maker's mark, his initials EJS. with the S making a lightning bolt.
The chip carved leafed branches you see on this stick are similar in Senahbeh, Stan Neptune, Joe Hugga Dana and Erik Sappier's work. These branches and leaves were a subject of conversation between Hugga and Erik recently. They say it is a brown ash which is a sacred tree to the Northeast Native Americans - it figures in their creation myth... they were made by an arrow piercing the brown ash tree and the splinters became the people.