ME938.10 | Case

Anonyme - Anonymous
Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Huron-Wendat
1850-1900, 19th century
Birchbark, silk, moosehair, cotton thread, dyes
5.5 x 13 x 26 cm
Gift of Mr. Henry W. Hill
© McCord Museum
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Keys to History

In the 19th century it was mainly the women who dyed the porcupine quills and moosehair. They used plants, roots and tree bark to obtain bright and attractive natural dyes. The colour red was obtained by boiling sumac flowers in water for about 15 minutes. No mordant was needed to fix the colour obtained from this flower. If a brown-red colour was desired, pulverized Tsavooyan (goldthread) root was added to the sumac water. The moosehair or porcupine quills were carefully removed from the dye and dipped in a mild soap before being rinsed with lukewarm water.

  • What

    This is a glove or handkerchief case made of pink silk with a birchbark bottom and flaps. The flaps are beautifully decorated with embroidered moosehair dyed from brightly coloured plant dyes.

  • Where

    This type of object was sold in Wendake as well as Quebec City, where the Huron-Wendat frequently travelled to sell their merchandise (baskets, moccasins, snowshoes and other souvenirs).

  • When

    This rectangular-shaped case was made between 1850 and 1900.

  • Who

    This type of case was made and carefully embroidered by Huron-Wendat women, specialists in moosehair embroidery in the 19 century.