Elizabeth James-Perry Hand Sculpted Wampum Whale Tail Earrings
A pair of wampum earrings in the shape of whale tails by Wampanoag artist Elizabeth James-Perry. The artist selects her shells carefully and cuts and finishes them all in the traditional way, by hand, to preserve their attractive contours and colors. The contours are difficult to display in two-dimensional photographs, but they add a lot to the visual aesthetic when seen in person.
Wampum has been used by coastal tribes for thousands of years. Items made from quahog shells, commonly called wampum, are culturally significant to New England tribes and are held in great esteem within families and within tribes.
Perry hand selects each quahog shell for color and other qualities. She continues this traditional work form as a way of honoring her connection to her ancestors, their history, their way of life, and the ocean that sustains them.
Tails are approximately 1 1/8 inches high x 1 inch wide x 3/16 inch at their thickest; approximately 1 1/2 inches high including ear wires.
Materials: quahog shells, sterling silver ear wires