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Chilkat Tlingit
Southeast Alaska

ca. 1840

mountain goat wool, cedar bark, hide, brass thimbles
width: 42"
length: 25"

Inventory # N4169


Chilkat dance aprons are exceedingly rare. There are few known examples, most of which appear to be in museum collections. 


This dance apron was collected by the distinguished naval officer Admiral Robert E. Coontz at Sitka, Alaska, in the 1880’s. It is speculated that the apron was given to Coontz during the Potlatch of 1885, as the photograph “Sitka Indians before a Pot Latch” is reproduced in the autobiography of Admiral Coontz entitled “Mississippi to the Sea”.

By descent through the Coontz family

Related Examples

Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg - Cat. No. 593-28 – See: Tlingit: Catalogue of the Kunstkamera. Berezkin (ed.). St. Petersburg, 2007, pg. 134, pl. 151

American Museum of Natural History, New York, Cat. No. E2602 – See: Wardwell, Allen. Tangible Visions: Northwest Coast Indian Shamanism and its Art. New York: The Monacelli Press, 1996, pg. 287, pl. 435, for an example collected by Emmons at Klukwan between 1884-93

American Museum of Natural History, New York, Cat. Nos. 16/348 and 16/349 and 2 others (No. numbers) all collected by Emmons – See: Emmons, George T. The Chilkat Blanket (Reprint). Sitka: Sheldon Jackson Museum, 1993, pgs. 392, 393 and 394, figs. 585a, 586, 587 and 588.

Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago – See: Ibid, pg. 392, fig. 585b for a dance apron likely produced from the same pattern board as the example in the Peter the Great Museum, St. Petersburg, Russian (see above)

Museum fur Volkerkunde, Munich, Cat. No. 779 – See: Haberland, Wolfgang. Donnervogel und Raubwal: Die indianische Kunst der Nordwestkuste Norkamerikas. Hamburg: Hamburgisches Museum fur Volkerkunde und Christians Verlag, 1979, pg. 79, pl. B-9

Princeton University Museum of Natural History – See: Furst, Peter T. and Jill Leslie. North American Indian Art. New York: Rizzoli, 1982, pg. 118, pl. 106

National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, Cat. No. 341202 – See: Fitzhugh, William, Crowell, Aron. Crossroads of Continents: Cultures of Siberia and Alaska. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1988, pg. 58, fig. 59

National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, Cat. No. 224417 – See: Harner, Michael J. and Elsasser, Albert B. Art of the Northwest Coast. Berkeley: Robert H. Lowie Museum of Anthropology, 1965, pg. 20 and Drucker, Philip. Indians of the Northwest Coast. New York: Natural History Press, 1955, pl. 20 for a dance apron likely produced from the same pattern board as an example in the American Museum of Natural History (Cat. No. 16/349 above)

The Thaw Collection, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, NY, Cat. No. T208 – 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. 382

Clan Headdress CN4313-149

Kaigani Haida
Southern Alaska

ca. 1840

Coast Tsimshian or Haisla
Central coast, British Columbia

ca. 1800-1830