M18506 | Bag

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Anonyme - Anonymous
Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Huron-Wendat or Maliseet
1865-1900, 19th century
Birchbark, stroud, cotton cloth, moosehair, wool cord, cotton thread, dyes
10.5 x 15.5 cm
Gift of the Estate of Miss J. J. MacFarlane
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Bag (239)
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Keys to History

Huron-Wendat women looked to Victorian-era fashions in creating all sorts of objects using traditional materials. This small, birchbark bag covered with black cloth and attractively embroidered with moosehair in floral motifs is but one example; numerous similar small bags were made and sold. Some were covered in red cloth embroidered with motifs representing local personalities and scenes from daily life in Wendake.

Quebec City was close to Wendake, so the Huron-Wendat had a ready market for the craft goods they produced. In addition, the village of Wendake was a favourite tourist destination, and many Huron-Wendat families worked making the snowshoes, moccasins and original souvenirs that so delighted its visitors.

  • What

    During the Victorian era women carried bags of all sorts, and Huron-Wendat artisans made versions of many of the most fashionable styles.

  • Where

    This type of small bag was sold in the village of Wendake as well as in Quebec City, where Huron-Wendat women travelled to sell the baskets and other craft works that they produced.

  • When

    Bags were an important fashion accessory in the second half of the 19th century, when narrower skirts with no pockets were all the style.

  • Who

    Their creativity, ability to adapt and their skill enabled Huron-Wendat women to create all kinds of utilitarian objects appreciated by visitors as lasting souvenirs of a journey to Wendake or Quebec City.