The Haida were also fond of large elkskin capes with painted panels and fringes on the sides. The design on these is most frequently that of the Killer Whale, with the Raven, usually in human form, within it. It can thus be equated with the same designs on a Chilkat blanket. The homogeneity of the designs on these capes and their collection provenance suggest they originated among the Kaigani Haida of the Prince of Wales archipelago in Alaska. Many early traders made special efforts to acquire elkskins from the tribes at the mouth of the Columbia River, where elk were abundant, in order to resell them to the Haida.
An elkskin cape painted with a Killer Whale design on the borders. Such capes were especially popular among the Kaigani Haida and commonly bore this identical design, perhaps symbolizing an honourary rank like captain of a war canoe.
Probably acquired circa 1900 by George T. Emmons for the Lord Bossom collection.
CMC VII-X-783 (S94-6729)
date created: november 30, 1998 | Last Updated: April 1, 2010