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April 30, 2011 on 1:54 am

Native American Rattles

Native American rattles in music have always been an intrinsic part of American Indian culture. Along with drums, they are prominently featured. Far more than simply a noise maker, the rattle has deep significance. Rattles help to keep the rhythm of the dance, and the noise touches the inner person. A variety of materials are used to make these rattles, and tribal differences make themselves known here. Gourds are the material most often associated with Native American rattles, but the range goes much further than that. California tribes use turtle shells, while Plains Indians make use of rawhide rattles. The Indians of the Southwest make their rattles of pottery, rawhide, or gourds.

The three spiritual kingdoms are signified in Native American rattles. A wooden handle or a gourd symbolizes the plant world. Animals are represented if the rattle is made of hide, or by feathers used to decorate the rattle. The mineral world is represented by the small stones used inside the rattle as the percussive element. The power drawn from the three kingdoms is transmitted when the rattle is shaken. Dancers shake rattles when performing as rattles are used in almost all Native ceremonies today.

Drawn from the natural world, Native Americans show symbolism and meaning in the construction of their rattles. It freely flows into the ceremonials and dances so important to Native American culture. Individuals use rattles for meditation as well as ceremonial use. Tension and stress can be released by listening to the soothing sound of the rattle.

Native American rattles are available in a wide range of styles today. The finest ones are made by Indian artists, who draw upon their cultural knowledge to produce a beautiful and meaningful rattle. A plain rattle can be enhanced by being decorated in a variety of ways. Rattles are often decorated with feathers and fur. With visions of the natural world, many rattles are painted in traditional Indian geometric patterns. Many times, painted rattles feature the animal world. Sometimes also used in the design is traditional Indian bead work. Rattles made by Native American artists incorporate traditional items into the rattle for the sound. Items included inside a rattle such as corn, clay beads, small pebbles and seeds, all produce a calming and pleasing sound.

An Indian rattle of the Native American culture, can bring a bit of the spiritual serenity into your home. Many people find that a collection of Indian rattles adds a new dimension to their home decor. A display of rattles on the wall will brighten any room. You will undoubtedly find that your mind is refreshed and cleared by the sound produced when you use a rattle for personal meditation.

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