Condor Effigy Ladle

Condor Effigy Ladle


Region / Tribe: Lower Columbia River / Wishram - Wasco (likely near the Dalles)

Circa: Early - mid 19th Century

Material: Bighorn Sheep horn

Dimension: L. 7 3/4” x W. 4 1/2”

Condition: Excellent, deep rich patina - almost translucent when viewed against light.


Pleasing the Spirits, Ewing, Douglas, 1982, p. 354.

Collection History: 

–Collected in 1910 by Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Burchard in Arcata, CA. Passed to their daughter Jesse Burchard Falkenstein and then to her son George L. Falkenstein.

–Accessioned into in the Herb Wellington Collection, catalog number 435.

–Stair auction, 2009

–Private Northwestern Collection


American Indian Sculpture, Wingert, Paul S., New York: Hacker Art Books, 1976.

Comments: Decorated with classic symbolic Columbia river design elements of zigzag chip carving and concentric circles. The zigzag motif may refer to lightening and the powers of the Upper World. The concentric circles suggest the powers of the Under World. This remarkable ladle has a powerful bird effigy on the handle. The accentuated bulging eyes refer to the extraordinary sight of this high flying predator. Its powers of keen observation imbue the user with this remarkable ability of spiritual sight. As is often the case with Columbia River art abstraction is employed to emphasize a particular trait. In this case the massive body of the bird projects enormous strength and power. The condor was often depicted in horn and stone sculptures, as well as being used as a decoration on twined bags. Though condors are extinct on the Columbia now, Lewis and Clark described them in their journals in 1805-6. The condor’s presence here demonstrates the ongoing vitality of this powerful manitou in the tribe as well as reinforces the early dating attributed to this extraordinary ladle.

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