Bird Dart (USA), Created before 1870s
This is a Bird dart.
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.
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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.