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Bandolier bag

Delaware bandolier bag
ca. 1850
Hide, cotton cloth, silk ribbon, glass beads, wool yarn, metal cones
68 x 47 cm

Delaware women, forced west onto the prairies as a result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, are credited with creating a new style of appliqué beadwork. Known as the “Prairie style,” it drew on the northern and southern beadwork traditions of the Woodlands. An early example of Prairie style beadwork style is seen in this shoulder bag. It is decorated with glass seed-bead embroidery and trimmed with silk ribbon. The pouch itself is composed of two simple rectangles, one stitched on top of the other. The back rectangle extends above the pouch opening and is ornamented with a band of beadwork. The body of the bag itself is an elaborate field of spot-stitch bead embroidery. The abstract, geometric designs are very carefully outlined with tiny white beads. The design on the strap is much broader, and bolder, than the design on the pouch. The pouch of the bag may have become separated from its original strap, and the strap seen here may be later in date.

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