American Hand-Carved Gilt Eagle Clutching Branches and Arrows

This is a hand-carved and painted American eagle. A striking eagle with wings spread, the carving is painted in full gold paint. The claws of the eagle clutch olive branches in the right talon and a bunch of red arrows in the other, as is seen in the U.S. Seal.

When Charles Thomson put together the final design for the Great Seal, he placed a bundle of thirteen arrows in the eagle's left (sinister) talon. The official description specifies the bald eagle holding "in his sinister a bundle of thirteen arrows." The thirteen 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 vibrancy. Eagle dimensions 19" H x 35" W x 7" D.

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