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Salish Blankets presents a new perspective on Salish weaving through technical and anthropological lenses. Worn as ceremonial robes, the blankets are complex objects said to preexist in the supernatural realm and made manifest in the natural world through ancestral guidance. The blankets are protective garments that at times of great life changes—birth, marriage, death—offer emotional strength and mental focus. A blanket can help establish the owner’s standing in the community and demonstrate a weaver’s technical expertise and artistic vision. The object, the maker, the wearer, and the community are bound and transformed through the creation and use of the blanket.
Drawing on first-person accounts of Salish community members, object analysis, and earlier ethnographic sources, the authors offer a wide-ranging material culture study of Coast Salish lifeways. Salish Blankets explores the design, color/pigmentation, meaning, materials, and process of weaving and examines its historical and cultural contexts.