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Time Ball (mnemonic Device) (Canada)

This is a Time ball (mnemonic device).

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Museum of the American Indian as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated Created before 1920. Its medium is knotted cordage of apocynum canabinum (indian hemp).

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.

  • Wristband, Jawbone UP24
  • hypoallergenic tpu rubber, nickel-plated tr-90 nylon, electronic components.
  • Courtesy of Yves Béhar and fuseproject.
  • s-e-1597

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.

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Time Ball (mnemonic Device) (Canada) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=27 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>