chill cats

September 2, 2011

chilkat blankets!!! originally created by the tsimshian people of the pacific northwest coast & alaska, it was the tlingit that really adopted the style and started producing these blankets, which were quite expensive and indicated the high status and wealth of the wearer. with the flattened faces of animals, eyes, and natural forms, these precious fringed textiles feature what we might think of as a “classic” totem pole style: rounded, elongated rectangles and bold shapes stacked atop one another. made of mountain goat wool and cedar bark dyed with different mosses, copper, and urine, they’re quite complicated to make because they are woven vertically. no wonder the faces are stacked on top of each other! the chilkat takes on other forms besides blankets, including dancing costumes, tunics, & bags. don’t you want to wear one and dance around too??

images via sealaska heritage institute archivist, peabody essex museumflickr, alaska’s digital archives.

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