In August, a colleague sent me this photograph from the Canadian War Museum, in Ottawa, with the question “Is it a well-known thing?”
For an introduction to Tlingit armour, see Gary Ashkenazy’s post Body Armor Made of Old Chinese Coins on his website Primaltrek (Feb 2013).
There are collections of helmets, neck braces and body wear of the Tlingit in museums around the world. Here are a couple of pieces of Tlingit armour on display:
I’ve also put some images on Pinterest.
Tommy Joseph, a master carver of Sitka, Alaska, has been visiting collections around the world, learning about the Tlingit collections and making new pieces. He created the exhibition Rainforest Warriors: Tlingit Armour by Tommy Joseph at the State Museum, Alaska, in 2013.
He also gave a TEDxSitka talk – Constructing Tlingit Armor: Tommy Joseph at TEDxSitka – in 2013, talking about the background to his exhibition (the talk lasts 11.51 minutes – the coin armour is at 7.09, 8.20, 9.09 and 10.34, but I’d suggest you start at the beginning because it’s interesting).
The intro to his talk on Youtube reads: Tommy Joseph is of the Eagle Moiety, Kaagwaantaan Clan. He has been actively engaged in Northwest Coast carving since the 1980s as an instructor, interpreter demonstrator and as a commissioned artist. He has produced a wide range of artwork including 35-foot totems, smaller house posts, intricately carved and inlaid masks and a wide range of bentwood containers. He also has replicated Tlingit ceremonial at.oow (treasured objects) and armor. Since the early 1990s, he has been in charge of the carving shop at the Southeast Alaska Indian Cultural Center in Sitka, demonstrating and interpreting Northwest Coast art for the many thousands of tourists who visit during the summer months. Recently he opened the Raindance Gallery in Sitka.