Whaler's Hat

RI 75.59


Double woven basketry hat with a repeated design of a whale hunt. Originally a hat with a bulb on top similar to those collected by late 18th century expeditions. Bulb evidently lost and a piece of split cedar bark woven in it's place and carried down as a lining to the hat. Possibly collected during Captain Cook voyage. These hats were the pinnacle of women's artistry and were only worn by high-ranking individuals and whalers. Depictions of whale hunts were woven into the surface. In this hat, the harpooned whale surfaces in front of the harpooner in his canoe, trailing a line of floats. The Nuu-chah-nulth stopped making this style of hat in the mid 1800s, although it has remained in the repertoire of weavers up to the present day.