Witch and Wolf Amulet

An íxt’ amulet made from a deer antler depicting a wolf and witch.

This piece is made from a deer antler has been labeled as belonging to a shaman but there are some subtle clues that might say otherwise, it differs significantly from other íxt’ items of the same type. The wolf is missing some characteristic elements that are almost always included in artistically depicting them. There is no tongue visible, no large ears, no teeth and has what looks like vertebra forming the back of the humanoid figure. As for the witch, normally witches are depicted being tortured and the facial expressions you give them is almost always grimacing and they are bound. This humanoid figure has a serene look and is posed as if it was flying or having an out of body experience and the arms and legs are not bound. The main part of the object has been hallowed out, and the narrowed tip has been pierced. This piece is 5.25 inches or 13.3cm long.

Cultural Narrative: 

This piece shows a wolf which is a revered land animal of the Tlingit and is many times the spirit helper that íxt’s use in their spiritual dealings. The other figure is a witch. The witches are always trying to possess or harm humans and they are the anti-hero to the íxt’.   

Nakws’aati (witches)

Kóoshdaa (Land Otters)

Guwakaan (deer)

Traditional Knowledge: 

Witches were always trying to infiltrate the everyday life of the Tlingit and there was very little a person could about this unless they got help from an íxt’. The íxt’ was the archnemesis of witches and there was the ongoing battle between the two over the souls of humans. Witches were identified, captured and tortured by the íxt’ to obtain information that was needed to save someone and to identify what supernatural beings helped the witch do their black magic. Land Otters were sometimes involved in dealing with witches and a made formidable team for the íxt’ to deal with. Men or women could become witches.

Shaman's charm of horn representing a wolf and witch figure.