Arts of the Americas
Buckskin, porcupine quills, bird quills, glass beads,commercial cloth, rawhide, thread, sinew
early 19th century
Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund
Prior to 1848, provenance not yet documented; by 1848, acquired by Nathan Sturges Jarvis; 1848, gift of Nathan Sturges Jarvis to the New-York Historical Society, New York, NY; 1937, loaned by the New-York Historical Society to the Brooklyn Museum; 1950, purchased from the New-York Historical Society by the Brooklyn Museum.
The backs, thumbs, and cuffs of these mittens are decorated with porcupine quillwork in a delicate curvilinear and geometric design complex that was originally colored bright blue, red, white, and purple. The cuff is decorated with a scalloped quillwork line in red and green and a horizontal border in registers of red, blue and green with white and purple diamonds running through it. On the front of the mitten (the back side of the wearer's hand) is a stylized, four-petal red flower with two secondary tri-lobed flowers, represented by blue outlines and three heart-shaped petals that emerge from the center of the red flower. Four curvilinear green and white lines emerge from the center of this red flower and they in turn terminate in flowers with three-pointed petals of red, blue, and purple. This is referred to as “turning swastika-like cross petals design." On the same side of the mitten, closest to where the thumb is on the reverse, is a quilled strip of red and purple diamonds, bordered in white and placed on a band-like field of blue and red. On the thumb itself is a pattern of three flowers combined, a red one at the center and a blue and white one on each side. This motif is placed above a four-lobed linear representation of a red flower, very similar to the large one on the other side of the mitten.
There is evidence the mittens once had a fur strip edging. The mittens have a printed cloth lining, patterned with a brownish green leafy or paisley design on a natural ground. The pattern is not meant to show as it is faced into the inside of the mittens. See Jarvis supplemental file Arts of Americas office.
This item is not on view
Cree (Metis). Mittens, early 19th century. Buckskin, porcupine quills, bird quills, glass beads,commercial cloth, rawhide, thread, sinew, 10 x 5 3/4 in. (25.4 x 14.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.13a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.50.67.13a-b_view1.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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