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Hunting hat

caguyaq “bentwood hunting hat”
Language: Koniag Sugpiaq (Alaska Peninsula dialect)

Before dawn next morning the raven flew away over the sea…About midday they espied him flying toward the shore, carrying a whale.

—Anonymous, from “The Raven and His Grandmother,” 1903

Designs painted on bentwood hats that were worn by whalers and sea otter hunters summoned helping spirits that included the killer whale/wolf, raven, and giant eagle. This hat depicts a wolf’s face with down-turned mouth, long snout and nostrils, and crescent-shaped eyes. Ornaments of colored yarn and thread dangle from the eyes and pointed ivory ears stick out from the back of the hat. The ivory side panels may represent a bird’s wings. Sea lion whiskers attached in back are said to represent a tally of whales the owner had killed.

Culture: Sugpiaq (Alutiiq)
Region: Alaska Peninsula
Village: Katmai
Object Category: Hunting
Dimensions: Length 52cm
Accession Date: 1884
Source: William J. Fisher (collector)
Museum: National Museum of Natural History
Museum ID Number: E090444