Hearst Museum Portal


Object status:
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Abstracted bear designs; black, yellow and blue on white; dyed mountain goat wool twined over wool-covered cedar bark warp; front design is standing bear with large face; smaller faces within ears and at joints; on back are (top to bottom) a pair of eyes, 4 spinal vertebrae?, and black/yellow checkerboard panel; tassels at base of garment; one side of tunic is sewn almost closed, other side has 3 pair buckskin ties; drawstring at neck. Designs said to be grizzly bear and 2 cubs.
Mrs. Bernice Wetterwik
Collection place:
Skagway, Skagway-Hoonah-Angoon Borough, Alaska
Verbatim coll. place:
Alaska; Skagway
Culture or time period:
Chief Kadanaho and Louis Levy
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Context of use:
Dance tunic. Worn at dances and ceremonies. "Chief Kanada wore it at great feast and dance given by "Chief Shakes of the Stikine tribe of Wrangel.
Cat. 2 - North America (except Mexico and Central America)
width 53.5 centimeters and length 1.27 centimeters
Native name: "qeka" (cover or protector); "k!uda's" (sleeveless shirt). Shirt derived from ancient hide armor. See accession envelope for article by Mr. Levy (typed) also in "The Pony Express" (in accession envelope - pp. 8-9, December 1944). Also foto of Chief Kanada wearing tunic (in article) and Oakland Tribune foto of Mr. Levy wearing shirt (5/25/1953). Photo: yes. Conservation: Treated with DDT in alcohol. References: Emmons, "The Chilkat Blanket", p. 346 especially. Also "The Far North", H.B. Collins et al, pp. 224-225; "Art of the Northwest Coast" (UCLMA), pp. 68-9; and Erna Gunther, "Art in the Life of the Northwest Coast", pp. 80-82, p. 207. February 1977: specimen seen by Bill Holm. "Proper name of owner is Chief Kadanaho. Date of manufacture more likely 1890's. Commercial twine cordage neckband, not skin, another indication of later date as is the use of some commercial weft and rendering of design. Design on back represents vertebrae and ribs. Design is grizzly bear. Looks like Chief Shakes' crest called "Many Faces". See screen in Denver Art Museum reproduced in many books. Swanton published legend which describes how a grizzly accompanied Shakes' lineage to top of mountain during flood; the bear was killed and skinned; mask made of his head. Burke Museum has original mask.
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