Nez Perce Time on a String - string of life. Knotted and beaded by PenahNenonmi (Helping Another), wife of Husis Owyeen (Wounded Head, 1825-1906). Both were on Chief Joseph's March. Six knots and then a small blue bead represented weeks, the red beads representing death, others are not known. Have not unwound to measure. With original carrying pouch. We acquired from the Great Grandson. Never before offered - perhaps the only one in existence. The only one known to exist is in the small Spalding Collection, but much smaller. Women from the Yakama Native American tribe used strings of hemp as personal diaries. Each major event in their life was represented by a knot, a bead or a shell. Possibly for courtship, marriage and private memories. Often these were buried with the woman. In time, as the ball grew, women would sometimes divide the twine into 25 year lengths to make it more manageable. When the women were very old, they could use the knots and beads of their time balls to recall not only what happened intheir lives but when the events occurred. They could easily recount when their children were born, when they moved and other major experiences. This mnemonic device is called an Ititamat, or counting by the days ball, or simply a time ball. Each string is a different Ititamat.
PERIOD: Late 19th CenturyORIGIN: Plateau - Nez Perce, Native American
SIZE: Puch 7" x 3"D Have not Unwound for Length