Embossed Brass Spreadwing Eagle, Circa 1900

This is a vintage embossed brass American eagle, dating to the early 1900s. This is a striking eagle, with its wings fully outstretched. The eagle clutches an olive branch in its right talon and a 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, as seen here. 

The eagle is both the national bird and the national animal of the United States. The founders of the United States were fond of comparing their new republic with the Roman Republic, in which eagle imagery, usually the golden eagle, was prominent. On June 20, 1782, the Continental Congress adopted the design for the Great Seal of the United States depicting a bald eagle grasping 13 arrows in its sinister (left) talon and an olive branch with its dexter (right) talons. 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, the bundle of arrows were a nod to the unity of the original 13 colonies. The olive branches emphasize the power of peace. The eagle motif has since appeared in allegorical engravings, patriotic banners and posters, and in beautiful wooden carvings and bronze sculptures. This is a unique piece of Americana.


Very good condition overall. Embossed brass, with expected wear and light dents. Small areas of tarnish near talons. Hanging wire installed on back.

Dimensions: 13" H x 29" W x 2.5" D

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