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Type: For the Household
Object Name: Mat
Maker: Kit-Elswa, Johnnie
Place Made: North America: Canada, Western Canada, British Columbia
People: Haida
Period: Late 19th century
Date: c 1880
Era: Tradition
Dimensions: L 168 cm x W 69.5 cm
Materials: Cedar bark; plant dye
Techniques: Woven; painted; braided
ID Number: T88.0786
Credit: Textile Museum of Canada, purchased with the assistance of a grant from Communications Canada, 1988

A killer whale takes centre stage on this woven mat of red cedar bark strips. The image of the whale flanked by two wolf heads is painted on the mat with natural dyes. The whale and wolf heads are drawn in the graphic style of the Northwest Coast: the artist draws a subject’s outline and fills it with abstract shapes. These internal shapes may play roles in a myth that is being represented– notice the face on the whale’s tail, for example – or they may show the sides and the back of the creature.

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