M956.2-3 | Leggings

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Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Mi'kmaq
1865-1900, 19th century
Wool cloth, silk ribbon, glass beads, cotton thread, horsehair
23.5 x 65 cm
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Leggings (74)
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Keys to History

There are several variations to the double-curve motif found in the artwork of numerous Aboriginal nations of the Eastern Woodlands region. Among the Mi'kmaq, the motif often has a mark in the shape of a "T" at the centre.

The double-curve motif is frequently represented using glass beads, much-desired trade items that were also given to the Mi'kmaq as gifts by Europeans at official gatherings. Beads came in various colours and sizes, and were sometimes so small that the user first had to string them on horse hair and then sew these rows to the garment.

  • What

    Leggings are woolen tubes worn to keep the legs warm and protected. These leggings are decorated with silk ribbons and glass beads strung on horse hair.

  • Where

    These leggings come from New Brunswick or Nova Scotia.

  • When

    The leggings were made in the late 19th century.

  • Who

    We know very little about the artists who made these objects. David Ross McCord, who collected them between 1913 and 1916, did not record the makers' names. Nevertheless, Mi'kmaq clothing was probably made by women.