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Loom-woven off-white wool blanket, with four dark yellow interwoven stripes across the width. The bottom edge has a long twisted fringe.

History Of Use

Mountain goat wool blankets worn as robes or used as bedding were marks of high social status. The blankets were objects of wealth, and were presented as gifts on ceremonial occasions. Presentations were made in the exchanges that accompanied weddings. They were also used to compensate shamans and other specialists for their services. They were distributed to those who witnessed weddings, naming ceremonies, and memorial rituals. The dead of wealthy families were wrapped in blankets. By the 1850s, Hudson's Bay (Company) point blankets, and other trade blankets were beginning to supercede the ones woven locally. Women underwent ritual purification before beginning work with mountain goat wool, and some had guardian spirits who gave superior skill in weaving. Sto:lo weavers note that this blanket can be identified as a swoqw'`elh (chief's) blanket by the fringe that hangs down along the edge. The "red" portion is part of the original design and indicates to whom this blanket belonged, since every family had its own designs.

Cultural Context

ceremonial; wealth; status

Item History

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