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Trio 19th C. Woodlands Indian Beaded Pouches

Native American, Eastern Woodlands people, late 19th to early 20th century CE. Three beautiful, brightly colored pouches, each made of cloth and leather with beads sewn into floral patterns over them. One, the largest, has a dense fringe of looped beads that forms a halo around it; it also has a flap to close it, and a brown cloth ribbon that forms a handle (which seems to have been added at a later date). White, blue, yellow, and pink flowers have been sewn onto the outside of the flap and the body. The second is a flattened moccasin shape, with a red background, and a lavender, pink, yellow, clear/translucent, and blue floral pattern. A looped ribbon forms a handle from the pointed top. The third is also mocassin-shaped, with clear glass beads forming a floral pattern studded with larger, cylindrical beads on a red cloth background. Size of largest (first described): 6.1" W x 5.5" H (15.5 cm x 14 cm)

Before the arrival of Europeans, the Woodlands people used porcupine quills as decoration on clothing; they created rigid designs, often of uniform color. Trade with Europeans, who brought glass beads from Venice and other glass-making centers in Europe, dramatically changed the look of Native clothing. Floral designs became popular, with each color of bead symbolizing something different to the Native viewer.

See a pair of these pouches from Christie's: http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/two-eastern-woodlands-beaded-cloth-pouches-4648430-details.aspx

Condition: All three pieces have losses to their beadwork and show some fading/staining of the cloth from age. The smallest, which is also the oldest, is very fragile, and has an accession number written on its undecorated back.

Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection acquired before 2000

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