Time Ball (mnemonic Device) (Canada), Created before 1920
This is a Time ball (mnemonic device).
The time ball is a memory aid unique to the Klikitat and Yakama people of the Columbia Plateau, a region including parts of present-day Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia. Unlike the knots of the quipu, used in Incan numerical recordkeeping, the knots of the "counting-the-days ball" ball, or ititamat, registered significant life events and were created and kept by women. When a young woman was marriageable, she started her first time ball, using fibers from the Apocynum canabinum plant, commonly known as Indian hemp or dogbane. Simple knots recorded individual days, while meaningful occasions, such as marriages, births, or deaths were highlighted with special markers, including glass beads, shells, human hair, and cloth fragments. As a woman grew older, her time ball contained the history of her family and the extended community, including days of bounty, hardship, or even conflict. Maintaining her time ball was so essential to a woman’s identity that she was buried with it.
It is credited
National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, 10/297.
Its dimensions are
H x W: 8.5 x 9.8 cm (3 3/8 x 3 7/8 in.) Circumference: 28.5 cm (11 1/4 in.)
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.