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"A Woman Weaving a Blanket," Songhees/Saanich (Central Coast Salish)
Paul Kane (1810 Mallow, Ireland–1871 Toronto, Canada)
Oil on canvas
45.3 x 73.8 cm
1849-1856
Area of Origin: Southeastern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada
The Honourable George William Allan Collection
Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada: First Peoples
Gift of Sir Edmund Osler
912.1.93
ROM2005_5163_1
 

Description: "The men wear no clothing in summer, and nothing but a blanket in winter, made either of dog’s hair alone, or dog’s hair and goosedown mixed, frayed cedar bark, or wildgoose skin, like the Chinooks. They have a peculiar breed of small dogs with long hair of a brownish black and a clear white. These dogs are bred for clothing purposes. The hair is cut off with a knife and mixed with goosedown and a little white earth, with a view of curing the feathers. This is then beaten together with sticks, and twisted into threads by rubbing it down the thigh with the palm of the hand, in the same way that a shoemaker forms his waxend, after which it undergoes a second twisting on a distaff to increase its firmness. The cedar bark is frayed and twisted into threads in a similar manner. These threads are then woven into blankets by a very simple loom of their own contrivance. A single thread is wound over rollers at the top and bottom of a square frame, so as to form a continuous woof through which an alternate thread is carried by the hand, and pressed closely together by a sort of wooden comb; by turning the rollers every part of the woof is brought within reach of the weaver; by this means a bag is formed, open at each end, which being cut down makes a square blanket. The women wear only an apron of twisted cedar bark shreds, tied round the waist and hanging down in front only, almost to the knees. They however, use the blankets more than the men do." (Paul Kane, "Wanderings of an Artist," 1859:210–211)

Exhibit History: Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada: First Peoples (ROM), December 2005-present

Publications: Harper, Russell J. 1971. "Paul Kane's Frontier." Toronto: University of Toronto Press. Kane, Paul. 1859. "Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America." London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts. Lister, Kenneth R. 2010. "Paul Kane /the Artist/: Wilderness to Studio." Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press.

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