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© McCord Museum
Dance cape
Northern Plains
Aboriginal: Nehiyaw?
Anonyme - Anonymous
1900-1918, 20th century
Cotton canvas, glass beads, cotton cloth, silk ribbons, hide, cowrie shells, brass bells, cotton thread
86 x 49 cm
Gift of C. S. Rackstraw
© McCord Museum


On the Canadian Plains, the production of formal dress and accessories decorated with bead embroidery for social dances and special events flourished throughout the reservation period, beginning in the 1880s. This splendid dance cape dates to the early 20th century and was probably made and worn by a Western Cree woman. The combination of a brilliant checkerboard pattern of coloured beads with a fringe of brass bells and cowry shells resulted in a flamboyant garment that no doubt attracted much attention when worn.

© Musée McCord Museum