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Three baskets woven by Aleut craftspeople on display at the Alaska State Museum

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Weaving

In addition to totem carving, the Northwest Coast Indians are known for a special weaving technique that allows the weaver to create perfect circles. These unusual Chilkat blankets and robes, coven of cedar bark and mountain goat wool, are part of the regalia worn at potlatches and other festivals and ceremonial gatherings.

Basketry is an ancient art that is still flourishing today. The small, very finely woven baskets of the Aleuts are highly prized by collectors. They are traditionally made of rye grass, a resource found in abundance in the Aleutians, and are often crafted in one of three styles – Attu, Unalaska and Atka.

Larger baskets, made of birch bark or willow root, illustrate Athabascan and Eskimo basket weaving techniques.


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