24 nov 2010

Raven's Tail Bag

Name: Raven’s Tail Bag
Origin: South-East Alaska
Date: contemporary
Museum: Sheldon Jackson Museum, Sitka (Alaska)
Materials: wool of mountain goat
A Raven’s Tail bag made by Teri Rofkar is the Sheldon Jackson Museum’s Artifact of the Month for November. The bag, part of the museums Hands-on collection, is made with deer skin, white sheep’s wool, brown buffalo wool, yellow-green dyed wool, and trimmed with sea otter fur. The weaving in the center is “Shadow in Trees” pattern. Rofkar, a Tlingit weaver from Sitka has been weaving Raven’s Tail robes, and spruce root and cedar bark baskets for many years.
Although contemporary art is not, as a rule, collected for the museum’s permanent collection, a Raven’s tail bag has been on the wish list for many years. It will be of great value for the museum’s education collection, for use with school groups, and an example of modern regalia based on ancient techniques and materials. Each November the museum exhibits of one its Native American objects to highlight the diversity of Native cultures of North America in recognition of National American Indian Heritage and Alaska Native Heritage Month.
Raven’s Tail, also identified as “Northern Geometric weaving” is one of the oldest forms of weaving by the Tlingit. Thigh spun warps and weft strands of wool from mountain goat make up the textile. These bags were used as medicine bags, ceremonial clan regalia, and dance bags worn over the shoulder and resting at the hip. The Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum donated the Raven’s Tail bag to the museum’s Hands-on Collection after facilitating an exchange with Rofkar of Tlingit basketry materials which they had purchased.
The Raven’s Tail Bag can be seen at the Sheldon Jackson Museum November 2 through November 30. Winter hours are Tuesday through

© Photo and text: Sheldon Jackson Museum

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