A bear is painted on a conical hat woven from spruce roots. The flat top suggests the animal’s muzzle. The eyes, ears and forepaws are spread around the wide brim.

Charles Edenshaw (attrib.)

(Skidegate, British Columbia, 1839 – Masset, British Columbia, 1920)

Isabella Edenshaw (attrib.)

(Klukwan Village, Alaska, 1842 – ?, 1926)


Rain Hat

about 1871-1899

Woven spruce root with pattern painted in red and black

16 x 43 cm

Peters-Laing Collection, gift of Anna Marion Laing, 1976

New Brunswick Museum, 1976.37.1

Photo: New Brunswick Museum

Rain Hat, a collaborative work, is a spruce root hat skilfully woven by Isabella Edenshaw. Her husband, Charles Edenshaw, used the hat’s conical shape to create the volume of the bear painted on the surface. The animal’s muzzle protrudes, while the rest of the head and the forepaws extend around the brim. Interconnecting ovals with red and black outlines of varied thickness create new animal forms that turn into birds. This style is typical of the work of Northwest Coast Native artists at the time.

Charles and Isabella are the names given to Da.a xiigang and Qwii.aang Edenshaw, respectively, when they married in the Anglican Church. The Haida artist couple experienced the effects of colonization and the smallpox outbreaks that decimated Northwest Coast Indigenous communities throughout the 19th century. Charles Edenshaw was a carver and painter acclaimed in his day, and his works are held in many ethnographic museums. One of the many artists he influenced is Bill Reid, his great-grandnephew. Isabella Edenshaw was not as well known as her husband, but art historians have now begun giving her work serious attention.


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