M18511 | Calling card tray
Anonyme - Anonymous
1840-1860, 19th century
Birchbark, moosehair, cotton thread, dyes
4.2 x 20.1 cm
Gift of the Estate of Miss J. J. MacFarlane
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Tray (21)
Keys to History
Crafts made by Natives were very popular with tourists during the second half of the 19th century. This tray was made by a Huron-Wendat craftsperson, likely from the Lorette region, a few kilometres from Quebec City.
Tourists who took cruises on the St. Lawrence often stopped to visit Native villages where they liked to buy a few crafts as souvenirs. These articles were intended for sale and designed to meet the tastes and expectations of the buyers. The souvenirs sold by the Natives had little in common with items they used in their everyday lives. To satisfy demand, they made articles with forms and functions that were typically Western.
While many tourists visited their villages, the Natives did not necessarily wait for them to come to do business. They also sold their products as itinerant peddlers or in public markets. Some even travelled abroad loaded down with souvenirs.
Natives used materials from their environment to make their crafts. For example, this tray is made of porcupine quills, moose hair and birchbark.
Certain Native villages on the shores of the St. Lawrence were very popular tourist sites.
Various groups of Natives made crafts from birchbark and porcupine quills. However, the creators of the art form were the Micmacs.
While it was the men who gathered the raw materials, it was the women who made the articles.