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Ceremonial Copper

Ceremonial Copper

Ceremonial Copper

Copper

H: 51.4; W: 28.3; Th: 0.7 cm

Purchased through the gift of the Faith-dorian and Martin Wright family, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum

Accession number:

B03.0594

Arts/Americas

Northwest Coast chiefs prized plaques of copper, which represented wealth and prestige. Their peculiar shape, flaring at the top and embossed with a T-shaped ridge on the lower half, may refer metaphorically to a human body. Valuable Coppers had names and a representation of an animal, the owner’s clan symbol, in this case an eagle. On the reverse side of the Copper there is an inscription in ink: “Cohlooma, cost 6,500 blankets,” which indicates its high barter price. Coppers were displayed at ceremonies, given away at Potlatches, or placed on the grave of a chief.