Monday, March 7, 2011

Iroquois bandolier bags

This first group of images is of Haudenosaunee people. The common feature here is the large beaded bag that they are wearing. These bags are quite rare and were likely made for personal use and not to be sold as souvenirs.

Circa 1870s CDV photograph of a young woman, possibly Haudenosaunee, with a beautifully beaded bandolier bag. This image was taken in England so she may have been travelling with a Wild West show or an entertainment group as both were popular during this period. The next image is of a different woman, possibly this woman's mother, who is wearing the same hat and bag.

Circa 1870s CDV image of a family, possibly Haudenosaunee, wearing outstanding examples of Iroquois beadwork. Both wear  Haudenosaunee bandolier bags. This image was taken in England.

1870s tintype of a Haudenosaunee wearing a large bandolier bag that is similar stylistically to the ones pictured above.

1870s albumen photograph of Solomon O'Bail (1814-1899), a Seneca and grandson of Cornplanter. He is also wearing a large, Haudenosaunee bandolier bag.

A late 19th century beaded collar and a bandolier bag identified as Iroquois in the Rochester Museum and Science Center. The bandolier bag is stylistically similar to those worn by the subjects in the previous images.

If you have an interest in Northeast Woodland beadwork you might find my book of interest. Titled: A Cherished Curiosity: TheSouvenir Beaded Bag in Historic Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Art by GerryBiron.
Published in 2012. This is a brand new, hard cover book with dust jacket. 184 pages and profusely illustrated. 8.5 x 11 inches. ISBN 978-0-9785414-1-5.
Since the early nineteenth century, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) beaded bags have been admired and cherished by travelers to Niagara Falls and other tourist destinations for their aesthetic beauty, detailed artistry, and the creative spirit of their makers.  A long neglected and misunderstood area of American Indian artistry, "souvenir" art as it's come to be called, played a crucial role in the subsistence of many Indian families during the nineteenth century. This lavishly illustrated history examines these bags – the most extensively produced dress accessory made by the Haudenosaunee – along with the historical development of beadworking both as an art form and as a subsistence practice for Native women.
In this book, the beadwork is considered in the context of art, fashion, and the tourist economy of the nineteenth century. Illustrated with over one hundred and fifty of the most important – and exquisite – examples of these bags, along with a unique collection of historical photographs of the bags in their original context, this book provides essential reading for collectors and researchers of this little understood area of American Indian art.

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