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Closed-crown Hunting Hat

Aleutian Islands, Alaska

late 18th/early 19th century

wood, blue/green, red and black paint, vegetal fiber neck cord

width: 8 ½"
depth: 16 ⅞"

Inventory # CE4340


acquired by the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, TX

The eminent scholar Lydia T. Black, identifies the number of known classic Aleut closed-crown hats to be 51- 25 in the USSR, 4 in the United Kingdom, 6 in Germany, 4 in Finland, 10 in the USA, 1 in Canada and an additional hat in private hands (Black 1991, pg. 153)

Black summarizes the importance of the classic closed-crown hats:

“Bentwood closed-crown hats with long visors were apparently rare and we do not know directly under what circumstances they were used. However, their elaborateness and rarity, as well as the sole extant representation of such a hat being worn at sea (by Tikhanov 1818) suggests that it was, if not a type of war helmet, then, a whaler’s hat. The hat pictured by Tikhanov is the “classic Aleut” hunting helmet described by Ivanov (1930), King (1981) and Liapunova (1985). They were in use on Kodiak prehistorically. Recently, models of men wearing short visors, and closed-crown hats were excavated at Karluk by R. H. Jordan. These models date to precontact times…”


Charles Ratton, Paris, France
Sotheby's New York, May 1987, lot 240a
Alderman Collection, CT
Ron Nasser, New York, NY
Donald Ellis Gallery, Dundas, ON
Private collection, Toronto, ON
Donald Ellis Gallery, New York, NY
George and Rosemary Lois collection, New York, NY


Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, St. Petersburg, Cat. No. 536-13 - See: Black. Lydia. T. Glory Remembered: Wooden Headgear of Alaska Sea Hunters. Juneau: Alaska State Museums, 1991, fig. 41, for a hat collected in 1804 on Kodiak Island by the Russian Naval Commander Uri Fedorovich Lisianski.

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, St. Petersburg, Cat. Nos. 4868-39 and 4868- See: Ibid, pg. 92, pl. 27 for a hat collected by I.G. Voznesenskii ca. 1840-42

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, St. Petersburg, Cat. Nos. 4104-8 and 2868-42 and 2868-44– See: Ibid, pg. 81, pl. 13, pg. 91, pl. 25 and pg. 158

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Cat. No. 69-20-10/1263 - See: Ibid, fig. 60

Institut und Sammlung fur Voelkerkunde der Universitaet, Goettingen, Germany, Cat. No. Am-783 - See: Ibid, pg. 153

Scientific Research Museum, Academy of Arts, St. Petersburg – See: Ibid (front cover) for an image of “A Whalehunter” by Mikhail Tihanov, 1818, staff artist for the Imperial Russian Naval circumnavigation voyage of 1818 under Captain Golovnin.

Karluk Archaeological Project, Koniag Inc. – See: Ibid, pg. 24, fig. 6, for prehistoric models of hatted men from Site KAR-1, Karluk, Kodiak Island, Alaska

Presidential Library, St. Petersburg, Cat. No. BBK 26.89 – See Ibid, pg. 78, fig. 66 for illustrations from fragments of the first manuscript map of Kamchatka, the Aleutian Islands by cartographer Timofey Ivanovich Shmalev, drawn in 1775 and showing “Americans” in kayaks wearing classic closed-crown hats.

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