Raven Ceremonial Rattle, c. 2000 by Trevor Angus, Gitxsan First Nation
alder, glass beads, pigment on a slate stand 4” high ( 8.25” high on stand) x 14.5” long x 4” wide
Most often associated with shamanic practices on the Northwest Coast, Raven Rattles are held oriented with the bird's beak pointing down when used in dance. Additionally, rattles like this are used to channel a shaman's spirit guide and can be used in healing ceremonies. Much of the symbolism associated with this rattle comments on the transmission of power from one figure to the next—raven to humankind to frog to kingfisher. Rattles are considered extremely personal objects and bear specific symbolism and power known only by those who understand their meaning. As symbols of power, rattles are also kept by clan leaders. Carved in two pieces and assembled using wooden pins to secure the halves, a rattle traditionally contains small stones or seeds, and after contact glass seed beads.
Trevor Angus was accepted into the Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art at K’san in Hazelton BC, at a young age. At the Gitanmaax School, he studied under Master Carvers Ken Mowatt and Vernon Stephens. For four years he studied and learned to design and carve panels, masks, rattles, paddles, ladles and steam bentwood boxes. Since graduating from the Gitanmaax School, Angus has apprenticed under Phillip Janze to hone his skills in gold and silver jewelry engraving.
Angus creates his panel works in cedar wood, incorporating traditional K’san style and design. He is a practiced carver and his pieces are thoughtful, consistent, and deeply etched. He now lives and carves full time in Vancouver.