American Hand-Carved Gilt Eagle Clutching Branches and Arrows

This is a hand-carved and painted American eagle. A striking eagle with wings outstretched in presentation, the eagle is painted fully gold. The eagle clutches an olive branch in its right talon and a bright red bundle of arrows in the left. Traditionally, the eagle is faced towards the olive branch to signify the strive for peace, however in times of war the eagle is occasionally changed to face the war arrows such as this one.

When Charles Thomson put together the final design for the Great Seal, he placed a bundle of arrows in the eagle's left (sinister) talon. The official description specifies the bald eagle holding "in his sinister a bundle of thirteen arrows." Those arrows are tightly aligned – a symbol of "strength in unity" that's found in the traditional cultures everywhere, from the Romans to the Iroquois— in this case a nod to the unity of the original 13 colonies. In the right (dexter) talon, the eagle holds olive branches, emphasizing the power of peace.

This is an extremely unique piece of Americana.


Original paint and hand-gilt in stable condition, with minimal chipping. Paint remains vibrant. Eagle dimensions 19" H x 35" W x 7" D.

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