Jacket-cape, ca. 1820



Fashion & Textiles Collection

Jacket-cape, ca. 1820

Unangax^ (Aleut) artist. Dye, wool, intestine, skin. Aleutian Islands, Alaska, United States. Peabody Essex Museum, Gift of Thomas Meek, 1821. E3662. Intricate applique borders and translucent stripes of sea lion intestine complement the cape's commanding size and shape. Unangan women forced into labor by Russian fur traders made these high-collared capes - based on European military overcoats - as souvenirs and gifts for visiting European dignitaries. According to donor Thomas Meek, who was active in Hawaiian commerce, this cape belonged to King Kamehameha I of Hawai'i, who likely gave it to Meek when formalizing a business transaction. © 2012 Peabody Essex Museum. Photograph by Kathy Tarantola.