Northwest Coast, Washington (not certain), United States (not certain), North America
FROM CARD: "TWINED WEAVING INCLOSING THE DOWN OF BIRDS WHICH FORMS A PILE OVER THE SURFACE OF THE ROBE, EXCEPT ON THE BORDERS, WHERE THE TEXTURE SHOWS AND IS ORNAMENTED WITH COLORED YARN. THE DOWN IS IN TWO COLORS. THE MATERIAL, ADMITTING OF STRIPING THE SURFACE IN NARROW BANDS, IS DOG'S HAIR MIXED WITH THAT OF THE MOUNTAIN GOAT, AND THE DOWN IS FROM AQUATIC BIRDS. WID. 41 AND 49 INCHES; LENGTH, 38 INCHES, EXCLUSIVE OF FRINGES. SALISH INDIANS, WASHINGTON. LABEL READS: "ROBE OF DOWN.--TWINED WEAVING INCLOSING THE DOWN OF BIRDS WHICH FORMS A PILE OVER THE SURFACE OF THE ROBE, EXCEPT ON THE BORDERS, WHERE THE TEXTURE SHOWS AND IS ORNAMENTED WITH COLORED YARN. THE DOWN IS IN TWO COLORS. THE MATERIAL, ADMITTING OF STRIPING THE SURFACE IN NARROW BANDS, IS DOG'S HAIR MIXED WITH THAT OF THE MOUNTAIN GOAT, AND THE DOWN IS FROM AQUATIC BIRDS. WIDTH 41 AND 49 INCHES; L. 38 INCHES, EXCLUSIVE OF FRINGES. SALISH INDIANS, WASHINGTON." ILLUS. IN AR SI, 1928; PL. 12-A; P. 634, "KRIEGER, "IND. COSTUMES" LENT TO THE BURKE MUSEUM, 2/23/89. LOAN RETURNED OCT 10 1989"
Illus. Fig. 50, p. 61 of Salish Weaving by Paula Gustafson, Univ. of Washington Press, 1980. Described on p. 125, cat. entry 79, of Gustafson as: "Fibres: Warp is mountain goat hair; weft is vegetable fibre at border; birdskin strips for body of blanket. Colour: Natural grey and brown waterfowl down; borders are coloured brown, maroon, green and black. Weave: Twine." Also described on p. 59 of Gustafson: "It has a colourful twined border and the general appearance of a Hybrid Salish blanket; however the centre portion is woven from strips of down-covered birdskin in alternating horizontal stipes of grey and brown. The method of construction of this blanket resembles some of the earliest collected blankets from Nootka Sound ... it is believed to have been collected by Admiral [Charles] Wilkes and can possibly therefore be attributed to the Makah. " Illus. (in color) Pl. 2, p. 46 and described p. 44 in "A Time of Gathering: native heritage in Washington State", ed. Robin K. Wright, University of Washington Press, 1991.
There is some question as to who the collector/donor of this artifact was. It has been possibly attributed to the Wilkes/U.S. Exploring Expedition on the catalogue card, though Jane Walsh questions that attribution. Wilkes attribution is indeed questionable, as no Peale number has yet been identified for this piece. Some other possible donors would be the National Institute or George Gibbs? Donor is blank in original Anthropology catalogue ledger book. Object was entered into the Anthropology catalogue ledger book in December 1866. Another possible source, if this is not a Wilkes piece, could be Dr. George Suckley? See p. 112 in Suckley, George, and J. G. Cooper, 1860, The natural history of Washington territory and Oregon: with much relating to Minnesota, Nebraska, Kansas, Utah, and California between the thirty-sixth and forty-ninth parallels of latitude : being those parts of the final reports on the survey of the Northern Pacific Railroad route, relating to the natural history of the regions explored, with full catalogues and descriptions of the plants and animals collected from 1853 to 1860, New York: Baillie`re Bros.. http://www.archive.org/stream/naturalhistoryof00coop#page/112/mode/1up . Suckley and George Gibbs describe blankets made by the Clallam of wool dog hair. Suckley says that he sent to the Smithsonian a dog wool blanket and also one blanket "of dog's wool and duck feathers mixed," though an entry for this Suckley wool and feather blanket has not been located in the Smithsonian catalogues. It may be speculated that E1894-0 could possibly be the Suckley wool and duck feather blanket? Carla Dove (see below) has identified the feathers on this blanket as Mallard duck, which may be an additional argument for this blanket being from Suckley. If it is from Suckley, it may be part of Accession No. 126.
Per Chief Janice George, Squamish weaver, 2008, the borders of this textile include some commercial yarn.
Reference: Solazzo, C., S. Heald, M.W. Ballard, D.A. Ashford, P.T. DePriest, R.J. Koestler, and M. Collins. 2011. Proteomics and Coast Salish blankets: A tale of shaggy dogs? Antiquity 85: 1418-1432. http://antiquity.ac.uk/ant/085/ant0851418.htm . Identified there as a Hybrid (1850 and beyond) blanket - main body animal fibers woven with down and feathers; external border Mountain goat hair; sheep wool and Mountain goat hair present in braid appearing between main body and chevron-patterned twining; fringe Salish wool or woolly dog hair.
Per Dr. Carla J. Dove, Smithsonian Feather Identification Lab, 2017: The physical avian identification below is based on examination of microscopic structures in the downy feathers and comparison of any whole feathers with museum study skins. Bird distributions and population status were considered in making the final species determination. Downy feathers were examined microscopically and a few whole feathers with diagnostic color and pattern were matched to Mallard duck (Anas platyrhynchos).
X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) testing was conducted on this textile in 2017. Arsenic was detected. The testing suggests this textile was treated with pesticides that contained arsenic. The testing indicates there are high levels of arsenic (1,000-10,000 ppm). Mercury was also detected. The testing suggests this textile was treated with pesticides that contained mercury. The testing indicates there are medium (300-1,000 ppm) to high levels of mercury. Lead was also detected. See Anthropology Conservation Lab records for the full report. This object should be handled with gloves. See the Department of Anthropology "Statement on Potential Hazards (Inherent and Acquired) Associated with Collection Objects" for more detailed handling guidelines.