Object photography

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Object description

  • Mohawk (Iroquois) artist
  • Wall pocket, late 19th century
  • Glass, silk, sequin
  • Niagara Falls, North America
  • L: 20 5/8 in, W: 6 5/8 in, D: 5/8 in (L: 52.4 cm, W: 16.8 cm, D: 1.6 cm)
  • Gift of Miss M. L. Dewey, 1922
  • E18499
  • Beginning in the early 19th century, Native artists in the Niagara Falls region sold their wares to visiting tourists
  • The placement of the beads lends a handsome three-dimensional effect to the birds and flowers

Mohawk and other Haudenosaunee [Iroquois] women in the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada produced various souvenirs during the tourist boom in the Niagara Falls region in the 19th century, particularly after the Civil War. Many of these items were adapted from European forms and designs, such as this wall pocket, and other highly decorated items like pincushions, needle cases, picture frames, and ladies purses.

DESCRIPTION

This is a beaded wall pocket. It has a background of silk maroon cloth onto which a design of thickly layered beads has been sewn. The pocket is edged with strands of clear glass beads. Additionally, bunches of clear glass bead loops with multicolored square bead sections attach at the front and back. The loops run from the top edge all the way around the bottom and up the other side. The main body of the wall pocket is divided horizontally into five panels by heavy rope of glass beads at the open pocket edge. Each individual panel is decorated with raised, heavily beaded and sequined designs depicting flowers and birds using various colored glass beads including clear, light and dark blue, gold, yellow, green, pink, red, and maroon. Small white pearls are interspersed throughout the design. The back is an undecorated maroon silk cloth.

Exhibition History

  • Gifts of the Spirit: Works by Nineteenth-Century & Contemporary Native American Artists, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.; November 14, 1996 through May 18, 1997