ME982X.484 | Finger-woven sash (ceinture fléchée)

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Finger-woven sash (ceinture fléchée)
Anonyme - Anonymous
Eastern Woodlands
Aboriginal: Anishinaabe or Iroquois or Huron-Wendat
1775-1800, 18th century
Wool yarn, hemp, glass beads, metal cones, moose or deer hair, porcupine quills
6.2 x 140 cm
Gift of Mrs. Gladys E. Harris
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Sash (ceinture flêchée) (57)
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Keys to History

Aboriginal people had been finger weaving twisted animal hairs to create sashes and bags long before the arrival of Europeans. After the introduction of wool yarns by Europeans, they used these new materials to create finger-woven sashes and pouches, ornamented with white bead decorations. The illustrated sash is finger-woven from worsted wool yarn possibly obtained by unraveling segments of a trade blanket. The beads were carried on a separate thread and woven into the panel to produce diamond patterns on the front and vertical zigzag lines on the back. Porcupine quills are used to wrap the warp thread fringe, which is finished with sheet metal cones stuffed with dyed deer or moose hair. Close examination of this sash suggests that it may actually have been made from two garter drops - decorative pendants attached to the garters that were used to hold leggings in place.

  • What

    Aboriginal-made textiles that survive from the 18th century show a creative mix of European trade goods and earlier decorative techniques. This finger-woven wool sash has glass beads worked into the weave.

  • Where

    We do not know precisely where this sash was made; however, the technique of creating finger-woven sashes and straps from wool yarns was widespread across the Eastern Woodlands and Great Lakes.

  • When

    Most of the finger-woven sashes ornamented with tiny white beads that are in museum collections date to the period of 1775-1800. Since we do not know exactly when this sash was collected, we have concluded that it probably dates to the last quarter of the 18th century.

  • Who

    Finger-woven garters, sashes and straps were made by all Aboriginal groups living in the Eastern Woodlands. This sash was probably made by an Iroquois, Anishinaabe or Huron-Wendat artist.