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Browse: Plains Moccasins

“Moccasin,” the anglicized version of the French interpretation of an Algonkian Indian word, has become the generic term for Native American footwear in North America. Constructed from the tanned hide of bison, deer, moose, caribou, and antelope, moccasins and boots assumed divergent forms throughout the continent. Moccasins created from a single piece of hide, cut and sewn according to intricate patterns, produced the “soft sole” types that dominated in the eastern Woodlands and Great Lakes region. In the Plains and Southwest areas, moccasins and boots commonly employed hard soles of untanned rawhide to provide greater protection and longer wear.  

Considerable effort was invested in the design nuances and decorative embellishments of Native American footwear, bringing aesthetic elements and symbolic meanings to an otherwise utilitarian object. Adorned with embroidered porcupine and bird quills, ribbon work, paint, and beadwork, moccasins provided challenging arenas for artistic expression. Many groups developed separate styles and decorative elements for footwork depending on the age and gender of the wearer. The interpretation of design motifs includes realistic elements of the physical world, abstract symbolism from the cosmos, and representations of supernatural forces. It is interesting to note that moccasin design and decoration. Particularly for women, provided one of the most tenacious elements of tribal distinctiveness into the 20th century.  

Child's beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs

Youth’s beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs.

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Women's beaded leather moccasins with blue beaded field and antelope and bird design

Beaded leather moccasins. Blue beaded field with geometric designs around perimeter. Zoomorphic designs on vamp. Split “V” cuff. All beadwork done with lazy stitch.

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Child’s beaded leather moccasins with yellow pigment

Child’s beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs.

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Beaded and quilled leather moccasins

Beaded and quilled leather moccasins. Lanes of beadwork around perimeter and across instep. Both feature geometric designs. Rows of red quillwork across the vamp. All beadwork done with lazy stitch.

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Men’s beaded leather moccasins

Men’s beaded leather moccasins. Lanes of white and blue beadwork around perimeter with geometric designs. Vamp features green and white beading with geometric designs. Cuff has red silk sewn around the top of it. All beadwork done with lazy stitch.

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Beaded leather moccasins with fully beaded soles

Beaded leather moccasins with fully beaded soles. Red beaded field with geometric designs around perimeter, on vamp, and on the soles. Green beads along the top of the cuff, and purple silk sewn on around the cuff. All beadwork done with lazy stitch.

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Beaded leather moccasins with American flag motif and letters against a white background

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Beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs

Beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs.

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Beaded leather moccasins with blue, white, and red geometric designs

Leather moccasins with beaded uppers in geometric designs.

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Child’s beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs

Child’s beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs.

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Women's leather moccasins with beaded rosette

Women's moccasins with commercially tanned leather soles. Decorated with beaded white rosette with integrated scalloped picot edge and diamond border designs.

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Child’s beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs

Child’s beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs.

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Child’s beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs

Child’s beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs.

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Quilled and beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs

Beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs.

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Beaded leather moccasins with copper cones and cuffs

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Beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs, fringe, and a commercial leather sole

Beaded leather moccasin with geometric designs.

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Beaded leather moccasins with fringe and German silver cones

Beaded leather moccasin with geometric designs. 'Double lanes on toes in Comanche strip net technique. Small German silver spot at center of rosette. Fine rolled fringe at heel seam, no welt. Comanche pointed toe, Comanche-style tongue, square ear flaps - integrated - small German silver spots cones, Comanche-type peko (picot) with extra bead added around tongue (3 missing).' (Okla. U.)

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Beaded leather moccasins with split tongue and geometric designs

Beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs.

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Beaded leather moccasins with fringed toe and yellow pigment

Beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs. Partially beaded moccasins, hard sole, red bands of beadwork, yellow pigment over entire moccasin. Matching design on toe, simple split fringe on toe. Peko (picot) edged.

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Beaded leather moccasins with grid designs

Beaded leather moccasins with geometric designs.

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