Object photography

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Object description

  • Tlingit artist
  • Drinking cup, before 1824
  • Spruce root, grass, dye
  • Northwest Coast, North America
  • H: 6 1/2 in, dia.: 3 1/8 in (H: 16.5 cm, dia.: 7.9 cm)
  • Gift of Thomas Meek, 1827
  • E3505
  • Woven to be watertight
  • Used for drinking medicinal sea water

Tlingit women wove these athle yet ("salt-water cups") for men. They would drink sea water to purge and purify their bodies, hoping to prevent sickness and bring good fortune in hunting, fishing, and gambling.




East India Marine Society Collection


This is a twined basketry drinking cup made out of split spruce root and dyed grass. The object is ornamented with seven decorative bands on the outside. Three of the bands are narrow and decorated with a rectangular checkered pattern. The four other bands begin wide at the base, narrowing to the top, and are decorated with a zigzag pattern. The inside of the cup is a solid brown color.

Exhibition History

  • Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum, Washington State Historical Society; October 11, 2005 through February 09, 2006