A period called the Era of Manifestations between 1837 and the 1850s represented a major spiritual shift within the Shaker community where "believers" regularly received spiritual visions which were revealed in song, drawings and dances.
Shaker founders and early leaders had often preached about heavenly treasures greatly to be desired. Never before, however, had Shakers dared to picture these heavenly treasures. Never before had Believers seen with their eyes the close formal resemblance between the things of eternity and the things of time. The subject matter and form of the instruments' images had been prohibited for many years as a threat to the purity of the sect. But a celestial content tempered and made useful this potentially radical art.