Lkaayaak yeil s'aaxw (Box of Daylight Raven Hat)
This hat depicts Raven in semi-human form, grasping the lid of the box from which he released the sun, moon and stars. This hat, unique in its full sculptural form, references the famous Box of Daylight story of the Tlingit people of southeast Alaska. It was Raven who released the sun, moon and stars from the box being held by Naas Shakee Yeil, Raven at the Head of the Nass.
Carved wood hats are among the most valued and significant objects of the Tlingit, which display a variety of crest emblems used by a particular clan that may include animals, geographic features or natural phenomena. They are brought out or shown only on ceremonial occasions of great importance. When not in use, hats such as this one are stored safely by a clan caretaker, who is someone recognized by the clan to have the knowledge and qualities necessary for such an important position. Similar hats and headdress frontlets are still brought out on ceremonial occasions, and their history and connection to the clan is recounted and validated. Crests memorialize an event or encounter between a clan ancestor and an animal or a crest symbol. Ownership of specific crests by matrilineal clans lies at the heart of the Tlingit crest art system and is the motivation for the creation of crest display regalia.
Maple, mirror, abalone shell, bird skin, paint, sea lion whiskers, copper, leather, Flicker feathers, 11 7/8 x 7 3/4 x 12 1/4 in. (30.2 x 19.7 x 31.1 cm), Gift of John H. Hauberg, 91.1.124,