What a Pair of Fish-Skin Coats Can Tell Us

Cleaned and repaired, fish-skin coats from Siberia reveal indigenous knowledge

Unknown Nivkh makers, Woman’s fish-skin festival coats (hukht), late 19th century. Cloth: fish skin, sinew (reindeer), cotton thread; appliqué and embroidery. Promised gift of Thomas Murray L2019.66.2
Unknown Japanese maker, Paper traveling coat (kamiko dōchūgi), 19th–early 20th century. Gift of Thomas Murray, 2019.91.28
Unknown Nivkh makers, Woman’s fish-skin festival coats (hukht), late 19th century. Cloth: fish skin, sinew (reindeer), cotton thread; appliqué and embroidery. Left: Promised gift of Thomas Murray L2019.66.2. Right: The John R. Van Derlip Fund and the Mary Griggs Burke Endowment Fund established by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation; purchase from the Thomas Murray Collection 2019.20.31
China, Manchu Emperor’s ceremonial twelve-symbol jifu court robe, 1723–35. Silk tapestry (kesi). The John R. Van Derlip Fund, 42.8.11
Women’s clothing, collected from a Nivkh community in 1871, now in the National Museum of Denmark. Photo by Roberto Fortuna, courtesy Wikimedia Commons

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