Native American


Artist: Unknown
Culture/People: Tanana, Athabascan
Place: Southern Alaska
Media: Hide, quill, and beads
Dims: 25 x 7 in. (63.5 x 17.8 cm).
Date: c. 1850
RTC No: NA1091
Gift of Ralph T. Coe, 2011


Probably made of caribou hide and trimmed with beads and fringe, there are not many of this style of a quiver in existence—and unlike those other pieces, the Coe collection quiver does not include painted caribou images. Using the hide and painting images of caribou, no doubt, made for a more exacting hunt; one that put Indigenous humans in conversation with the four-legged animal world. Tanana/Athapascan quivers have a distinctive shape, which Ted suggests as a long extended hide boot… The odd shape can almost be categorized as a marriage between Athabascan Mukluk and a quiver.

This style of quiver was worn across the back, like a bandolier. Quivers are universal and found throughout human history in all parts of the world. This quiver could be carried across the back when not in use and swung forward either over the shoulder or on the waist to be used in the hunt when rapid access to arrows is needed.

The late fall is the time for caribou hunts. Men gather their friends and relatives and set out for small encampments near to caribou grazing areas. While snowmobiles and rifles may be used in today’s hunts, the reverence for caribou and knowing them as family members continue to provide successful hunts. See also NA0692.

See artist Elizabeth James Perry speak about this piece on Collections Spotlight June 2020.


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