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Excerpt from Thaw Catalog: The human figure, holding up a rum keg while sitting on top of the short handle, is a magnificent example of the type of effigy carving among the Wyandot in the mid-18th century. The theme of drinking from a bag is known from at least two effigy pipe bowls of documented Wyandot origin in the National Museum of the American Indian, an effigy pipe bowl in the British Museum, a wooden effigy pipe bowl in the collection of Donald D. Jones in Kansas City, and from a surprisingly similar effigy ladle attributed to the Mohawk in the Philbrook Art Center. (c.f. Dockstader 1961, figs.237 & 240; King 1977, p.20; Wade 1986, p.165, fig.143) The latter was apparently acquired among the mixed population of Wyandot and Iroquois Indians in the northeastern part of Oklahoma. The rum keg in these effigies undoubtedly refers to the role of rum consumption in the annual ceremonials of the White Panther cult among the Wyandot Indians. This shamanistic cult was devoted to the worship of Ontarraoura, the giant panther-like dragon ruler of the Underworld. The ceremonial use of rum provided its members with visionary experiences. Sotheby's 1982, lot 132; Vincent 1995a, p.23.
height 9.5 in ; width 6.75 in