Object photography

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Object description

  • Northeastern New England, probably Algonquin artist
  • Snowshoe, before 1821
  • Wood, leather, metal
  • Northeastern New England, United States
  • L: 41 7/8 in, W: 17 3/4 in, D: 1 1/2 in (L: 106.4 cm, W: 45.1 cm, D: 3.8 cm)
  • Unknown donor, 1821
  • E3764
  • Exemplify Native American inventiveness
  • Celebrate time-honored, durable footwear

Most Native American people living in the North developed snowshoes. This ingenious technology prevented sinking into the snow, by distributing weight evenly and shedding snow with every footstep. These snowshoes, with their graceful leaf shape, are made of intricate leather webbing and steamed, bent wood.


East India Marine Society Collection


This is a pair of snowshoes that are nearly flat and very broad. They have a wood frame which consists of a bent piece of wood connected at the narrow back end with a leather strap and two wooden bolts. From the back end, the shoes curve outward, creating a large oval shape, narrowing again at the top. Two solid pieces of wood act as crossbars near the top and bottom, creating three distinct sections. Leather strips crisscross the entire middle section, loop over the center edges, and are knotted in place. At the top section, the woven leather attaches to individual holes which pierce through the wood edges. Bands of leather are looped through these holes and create a place to tie other leather bands. Each shoe has a foot hole at the center, as well as larger leather straps below, possibly once used for tying.