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Clan Headdress

Kaigani Haida
Southern Alaska

ca. 1840

wood, paint
width: 12" 

Inventory # CN4313-149


restoration to most of left ear and top quarter right ear 
minor repair to tip of nose

Made in the style of 18th century war helmets seen among the neighbouring Tlingit, this rare Haida clan headdress was used to ceremonially display the inherited crest of a family, in this instance most likely a sea bear (See attached essay by Steven C. Brown)


Reportedly acquired by Julie Duke during the 1920's, then by descen to her son John Cribbs
On loan to Taylor Museum, Colorado Springs, CO, 1980-1998
Donald Ellis Gallery, Dundas, ON
Private collection, Toronto, ON


Donald Ellis Gallery catalogue, Toronto, 1999, pg. 21

Related Examples

Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Cat. No. 89037 – See: Feder, Norman. American Indian Art (shorter edition). New York: Harry N. Abrams Inc., 1973, pg. 105, pl. 109

The Brooklyn Museum, Cat. No. 05.274 - See: American Indian Art: Form and Tradition. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1972, pg. 108, pl. 152

National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution, Cat. No. 2/9165 - See: Joseph, Robert. Listening To Our Ancestors. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 2005, pg. 114, for a headdress identified as Tsimshian

Donald Ellis Gallery collection - See: Brown, Steven C. Native Visions: Evolution in Northwest Coast Art from the Eighteenth Through the Twentieth Century. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998 pg. 92, pl. 4.46, for a Tsimshian headdress in the form of a crouching bear

Sotheby's, New York, October 5, 2006, lot 11 ($660,000 USD) for a Tsimshian clan headdress collected at Metlakatla, BC, in 1863

New York State Historical Association, Fenimore Art Museum, Cat. No. T765 - See: Coe, Ralph T., Brydon, Sherry, Vincent, Gilbert T. (eds.) Art of the North American Indians: The Thaw Collection. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2000, pg. 364, for a Tlingit war helmet in the image of a bear

Seattle Art Museum Cat. No. 91.1.125 - See: Brown, Steven C. Native Visions: Evolution in Northwest Coast Art from the Eighteenth Through the Twentieth Cent ury. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998, pg. 33, pl. 3.10 for a Tlingit headdressin the form of a raven

Articulated Salmon N3661

Tsimshian (?)

Northern British Columbia

late 19th century

Chilkat Tlingit
Southeast Alaska

ca. 1840