ceremonial wahiloskó’s (quirt)

Cultural Narrative: 

A wahiloskó’s (quirt) or horse whip is an important aspect of the Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) peoples' connection to horses. Though Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) men and women used wahiloskó’s (quirts) in daily life to control horses, they also served purposes in warfare and specific ceremonies in Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) culture. During war, lead Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) warriors would use wahiloskó’s (quirts) to “urge” other warriors into battle and build their confidence. These wahiloskó’s (quirts) transitioned to ceremonial functions as specific Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) individuals continued to use them in ceremonial roles during the páaxam (war dance) (frequently known as a “powwow”). Individuals serving in these roles during a páaxam (war dance) were called wahiloskó’sin and would use wahiloskó’s (quirts) to “keep order” among those attending the dance. The wahiloskó’s (quirt) itself and the páaxam (war dance) ceremonial responsibilities associated with it were often passed down through a family’s lineage.

This particular wahiloskó’s (quirt) measures 46 cm in length, is "S-curved" in shape, and is constructed of wewúkye (elk) horn. It is polished, has leather straps/thongs, and is adorned with beads, brass tacks, seashells, feathers, bear claws, and a copper plate on the side. wahiloskó’s (quirts) were usually made from antlers, horns, or hardwoods, such as ash, siséeqiy (syringa), or yew. Though there isn't definitive evidence regarding who created this wahiloskó’s (quirt), it is Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) style and possibly attributed to L.V. McWhorter. This wahiloskó’s (quirt) is described as a "ceremonial quirt,"conveying it likely served ceremonial functions like those in the páaxam (war dance).

Image 1: This photo (taken from above) provides an overview of the ceremonial wahiloskó’s (quirt). This particular wahiloskó’s (quirt) measures 46 cm in length, is "S-curved" in shape, and is constructed of wewúkye (elk) horn. It is polished, has leather straps/thongs, and is adorned with beads, brass tacks, seashells, feathers, bear claws, and a copper plate on one side.
Image 2: This photo highlights the brass tack, bear claw, and bead detail on the wewúkye (elk) horn base of the wahiloskó’s (quirt). The bear claw and yellow, green, and white beads are attached to leather straps which are threaded through holes in the wewúkye (elk) horn base of the wahiloskó’s (quirt).
Image 3: This photo focuses on the numerous brass tacks on the wewúkye (elk) horn base of the wahiloskó’s (quirt).
Image 4: This photo shows the handle section of the wahiloskó’s (quirt) that is made from carved and polished wewúkye (elk) horn in the shape of an animal's head. One of the brass tacks serves as an eye and the end is carved to look like a mouth. There is a red thread around the animal's neck.
Image 5: This photo focuses on the detail of the lash portion of the wahiloskó’s (quirt). There are multiple brass tacks attached to this section of the wewúkye (elk) horn base. There are leather straps/thongs attached to this section with white and yellow seashells attached to the leather straps.