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Women’s beaded and quilled leather moccasins / Unknown

Essay/Description

Women’s beaded and quilled leather moccasins. There is a beaded row around the perimeter with various geometric designs. The vamp has lanes of yellow and red quillwork. All beadwork is done by lazy stitch.

Before contact with white explorers and traders, Plains women used porcupine quills to decorate clothing and other objects. Women in the Plains regions usually embroidered geometric polychrome designs with quills. They dyed the three to four inch long quills with vegetable and mineral colors, softened them with spit, and sewed them to leather with a needle. With white influence and trade, beads became more popular, though quillwork is still practiced (Furst and Furst 1982, 166). Women take great pride in their ability to produce exquisite quillwork. Some tribes, including the Blackfeet, Cheyenne, and Sioux, had quillwork guilds, and only women who created the best quillwork could be members, which meant that membership indicated high status and achievement (Dubin 1999, 272).

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Title(s): 
Women’s beaded and quilled leather moccasins
Creator(s): 
Unknown
Culture: 
Native American; possibly Northern Cheyenne or Sioux
Date: 
late 19th century
Period: 
Historic
Place: 
United States of America
Materials/Techniques: 
hide, glass, quills, natural dyes
Classification: 
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
84.373a-b
Department: 
On View

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