woven of mountain goat wool in colors of khaki, yellow, and black; central panel depicts a man surrounded by totemic and animistic imagery; fringe is composed of wool and cedar bark and frames sides of blanket and lower edge; blanket has been cut and has native repair, length 45 x 63 in. ca 1900
An example of a coat made from a potlatch-cut Chilkat blanket can be viewed within the collections of the American Museum of Natural History (Catalog No: 16.1/ 870 Field No: 339)
During times of celebration, the wealthiest and most powerful chieftains would hold great ceremonial events, known as potlatches. During the potlatch, open negotiations over hunting territories, regarding marriages, discussions of the political and legal processes, and the strengthening of alliances, would be conducted.
During this time, items of great significance which were considered to be imbued with supernatural properties, were gifted by the potlatch host to his guests. To receive such a gift, such as a whole or cut copper shield, would placed that guest into a powerful obligation. (Davy, Jack. "Potlatch coppers: wealth and power on the Northwest Coast." British Museum Blog. 2014.)
Much like the copper shields, the Chilkat cutting / repairing was practiced in recognition of the events that had taken place.
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