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Bird Dart (USA)

This is a Bird dart.

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 Natural History as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated Created before 1870s. Its medium is carved cedar, carved ivory, sinew lashing.

Yup’ik men hunted geese and ducks at sea from kayaks using multipronged darts called nuusaaq. With the help of a throwing board they could hurl a nuusaaq long distances with great accuracy. This dart has a central point made of walrus ivory and three barbed side prongs designed to snag a bird by the neck or wing. It could be thrown overhand through the air or side-armed to skip it across the waves at floating birds. When launched into a flock, it might kill or snag several ducks at one time. Because darts are silent and don’t frighten away other game in the area, these weapons were employed even after shotguns became available in the 1870s.

It is credited Collection of Lucien M. Turner, 1876, Saint Michael, Alaska, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, E29847.

  • Sling (Peru)
  • maguey fibers.
  • Museum purchase through gift of Marie Torrance Hadden.
  • 1947-31-1

Our curators have highlighted 1 object that are related to this one.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 11.1 x 7.3 x 172.1 cm (4 3/8 in. x 2 7/8 in. x 67 3/4 in.)

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Bird Dart (USA) |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=30 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>