M4939 | Epaulet

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Anonyme - Anonymous
Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Huron-Wendat
1800-1830, 19th century
Blackened deer hide, moosehair, horsehair?, sheet metal cones, glass beads, silk ribbon, cotton thread
7.8 x 10 cm
Gift of Mrs. J. B. Learmont
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Epaulet (13)
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Keys to History

In the wake of a turbulent period of contact with Europeans and a territorial realignment among several Aboriginal nations, in 1697 the Huron-Wendat from the Georgian Bay region in Ontario moved to the village of Lorette (now known as Wendake), near Quebec City. Thus, in the second half of the 17th century, the Huron-Wendat had to adapt to the flora and fauna of the Laurentian forest, their new homeland. Moose hunting became a way of life, part of their culture. Moosehair, taken from the hump on the animal's back and flap under the neck, quickly became an essential raw material used by Huron-Wendat women in refining their craft embroidery techniques. In the 19th century, moosehair replaced porcupine quills in their work, and these expert embroiderers began producing different styles of embroidery with a variety of design motifs. Moosehair embroidery experienced unprecedented popularity in the second half of the 19th century.

  • What

    This type of epaulet was used mainly to embellish frock coats worn by men. Note the embroidered upright motifs representing plants found in the vicinity of Lorette. Appliqués and epaulets like this were also adorned with metal cones into which moosehair had been inserted.

  • Where

    Huron Village, formerly known as Lorette, has long been the home territory of the Huron-Wendat. The village is now called Wendake.

  • When

    This epaulet was made in the early 19th century.

  • Who

    Huron-Wendat women developed the art of embroidery using moosehair to make, among other things, decorations for clothing.