Button blanket

Native American (Kwakwaka'wakw)
Maxine Matilpi (Native American (Kwakwaka'wakw)), Designed by John Livingston (Canadian)


Overall: 134.6 x 162.6 cm (53 x 64 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wool plain weave, mother-of-pearl

Not On View



Button blanket with black central field, red borders, and plaid textile at center top. Black wool blanket cloth with selvedge across bottom edge. Large red orca (or killer whale) figure of applied red cloth (described by the artist as “stroud”) outlined in applied mother-of-pearl buttons. Applied plaid textile and red stroud panels create top and side border, which include symmetrically paired motifs outlined in applied buttons. At the top, coppers signify wealth; and human faces appear in the upper corners. Pair of longhouses, oars, and floral blossoms that signify the four seasons run along the sides.

According to the artist, the central black field symbolizes the door to a longhouse. The red borders recall the planks from which a longhouse is made, and the plaid textile at the top center represents the smoke hole of a long house. Her husband and partner, carver John Livingston, designed the orca or central crest, while the artist designed the motifs in the borders.

Embroidered label sewn to back lower corner: “Hand made by Maxine Matilpi”


On embroidered label sewn to back lower corner: "Hand made by Maxine Matilpi"


2016, created by Maxine Matilpi (Kwakwaka'wakw), Alert Bay, North Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada; 2016, consigned by the artist to Steinbrueck Native Gallery, Seattle, WA; 2016, sold by Steinbrueck Native Gallery to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 22, 2016)

Credit Line

Gallery Instructors 50th Anniversary Fund in support of the Heritage Fund for a Diverse Collection


Reproduced with permission.