Leather, glass beads, and sinew
Overall: 34 x 18 x 2.5 cm (13 3/8 x 7 1/16 x 1 in.)
Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.206
Women made beaded "aprons" like this to wear under their clothes on festive occasions in the nineteenth century; expensive imported beads were a sign of wealth and status.
This is an exquisite example of a rare type of swallowtail-shaped apron worn by young female initiates until the mid-19th century. On the upper portion, the black beads were applied in such a way that they can be read as a human face or even as a full figure. In fact, the overall form of the apron can be viewed as representing the lower torso and legs of a woman with a neatly marked pubic region.
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