Alaska Native Collections – Sharing Knowledge

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Bark beater

The cedar bark would protect it [a mountain goat wool blanket] from moths. It’s really neat. I know how to make the yarn for that.

—Anna Katzeek, 2005

The inner bark of red and yellow cedar trees is an important material for traditional art. To soften cedar bark women traditionally soaked it in water and then pounded it with shredding tools and ridged beaters made of whale bone. This beater has a whale tail carved on its handle. Today, as in the past, artists twist finely shredded cedar bark into the mountain goat wool they use to weave blankets, adding it to the warp (vertical stands) for strength. The fragrance repels moths.

Culture: Tlingit
Region: Southeast Alaska
Object Category: Tools
Dimensions: Length 24.5cm
Accession Date: 1936
Source: William M. Fitzhugh Collection
Museum: National Museum of the American Indian
Museum ID Number: 193502.000