Pipe Bag

Pipe Bag

c. 1870

Native-tanned hide with yellow pigment, glass beads, red trade cloth, tin cones, sinew thread

Overall: 71.1 x 12.7 cm (28 x 5 in.)

Gift of Amelia Elizabeth White 1937.871

Description

Beadwork is one of the most famous and admired of 19th-century Plains decorative techniques, and the tradition continues today. It is created exclusively by women—in the past, some of them joked they could bead anything that stood still—and descends from an older technique involving embroidery with the dyed quills of porcupines or birds. Small European glass and metal beads eventually replaced quillwork, perhaps because they offered a wider range of more intense, lustrous colors. Among some Plains groups, bead workers belonged to craft societies and, as today, their most ambitious creations brought them honor and distinction.

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