Elk Antler Quirt, Nez Perce.

Made by a male member of the Nez Perce Tribe 1840-1845. Acquired by Henry Spalding and sent to Dudley Allen. Purchased by the Nez Perce Tribe from the Ohio Historical Society in 1996.

A decorated elk antler horse quirt or whip made by a Nez Perce man. The handle is formed of a piece of rawhide thong to which a forged iron ram rod is attached at one end. The ram rod was from an 1800 era firearm. The antler quirt shows considerable wear and patina from use prior to collection date indicating that it was made prior to 1845. The decorations include 6 circular incisions over which 7 bass rings are placed near the tip.

Traditional Knowledge: 

"The Nez Perce people made special designed quirts (whip[s]) out of animal parts, such as antlers, or [the] carved wood of trees or brush. They became part of his or her horse. Each quirt, with the design, had a significant meaning to the owner and his horse. It was a special tool that he/she carried during the long family travels and for the hunter or warrior who, at times, depended on the speed of his horse. The importance of a quirt was treated in the same manner as a weapon." Allen Slickpoo Sr. 1995