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Unangan (Attu Aleut) wallets
ca. 1880–1900
Aleutian Islands, Alaska
Rye grass, silk thread
15 x 8 cm
S. Prescott Fay Collection & Judge Nathan Bijur Collection
21/8411, 21/9000, 23/5622, 23/5623

The Unangan (Aleutic) people are well known for making wild-rye-grass basketry so closely and finely twined that it resembles linen. Basketry was an ancient Unangan art form. With the arrival of Americans in the Aleutian archipelago after 1867, Unangans started producing fancy baskets and other basketry souvenirs in great quantity. These wallets—of open and closed weave, and decorated with what is known as false embroidery—exemplify the exquisite quality of Unangan basketry.

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