Object photography

View of the artwork on display in 'Intersections: Native American Art in a New Light'; Peabody Essex Museum; 2006 through 2012.
View of the artwork on display in 'Intersections: Native American Art in a New Light'; Peabody Essex Museum; 2006 through 2012.
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Object description

  • Tlingit artist
  • Chilkat blanket, early 19th century
  • Mountain goat wool, cedar bark, leather
  • Pacific Northwest Coast, Alaska, United States
  • H: 53 in, W: 63.75 in (H: 134.6 cm)
  • Gift of Captain Robert Bennet Forbes, 1832
  • E3648
  • Depicts family crest of stylized killer whales
  • Worn by chief in ceremonial dances, as sign of lineage and rank

This is the oldest and most finely woven blanket of its kind known today. A Tlingit chief wore it as a cape during ceremonial dances, to declare his family crest, social standing and affluence. The fringe would sway in dance - indeed, its Tlingit name, na-x-en, has been interpreted as "fringe about the body."