Unknown maker, Chilkat Tlingit
Stone, calico, hair, paint
Collected by George T. Emmons in 1869
American Museum of Natural History 19/246

This doll was likely a plaything for a young Tlingit girl. Like many other possessions on the coast, dolls were passed down according to strict hereditary rules. Traces of red paint decorate its carved stone face, and its dress is fashioned from expertly stitched calico, which had been available since the late eighteenth century. The relative coarseness of the fabric suggests that it was produced for the lower end of the market, but the three-dot motif was popular on many forms of calico around the time of collection. Most Natives of the region had adopted Western dress for daily wear by the end of the nineteenth century, although regalia would have been worn at ceremonies and official functions. Some dolls from the period feature buckskin clothes, which implies that clothing styles were hybrid at the time and that at least some dolls were made for the burgeoning tourist trade to represent either “traditional” or “modern” Indians. Sartorial culture was not static; dolls such as this one indicate that the Tlingit exercised choice regarding which aspects of the colonial culture to adopt and to pass to their children.

Tags for Interactive Tag Cloud: indigenization, models, souvenir