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Quilled Shot Pouch

Arts of the Americas

MEDIUM Hide, dyed porcupine quill, deer hair, glass beads, thread, fur
DATES early 19th century
DIMENSIONS 12 x 6 1/2 in. (30.5 x 16.5 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund
PROVENANCE Prior to 1933, provenance not yet documented; before 1848, probably acquired by Nathan Sturges Jarvis; before 1862, probably inherited from Nathan Sturges Jarvis by Nathan Jarvis, Jr.; 1933, gift of Nathan Jarvis, Jr. 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.
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Hide pouch decorated on one side with two horizontal bands of quilled floral and geometric designs. Only one side is decorated. The top of the pouch is quill embroidered with three simple foliate forms that contain alternating stems from which emerge bi-lobed leaves. The three plants grow from a crescent shape, a shape that may be read as a seed pod. Decorated bags similar to this in size are sometimes referred to as "firebags" or "shot pouches" because they often held tobacco, flint and steel or a piece of touchwood for starting fires. Two quill woven strips that contain geometric forms are attached to the pouch. Both of these strips have white grounds with four major design elements on each, interspersed with small triangles and crosses. The top strip starts at the left with an eight-pointed star which is red at the center, then outlined in white on a brown field, outlined in turn in pink and the outer edge bordered in blue. The second element is also eight-pointed, as if a square and diamond are combined. At its center, a brown rectangle is surrounded by a larger rectangle of orange and red, then a white border, a blue border, then a pink border with projections at right and left, still another blue border, a white border, and finally, a brown border as the outer edge of the same form. The third element design is the same as the second and the fourth form is the same as the first. On the second, woven loomed quill strip, the first form on the left is an eight-pointed star with a brown and red checkered rectangle at center, surrounded by a white border on a blue field, surrounded in turn by a pink border, and then finally outlined in brown. The second form is irregular and may be described as a vertically oriented rectangle with a pronounced point emerging at right and left. At the center is a reddish strip, bordered and crossed horizontally in white, on a brown field that is surrounded by a blue border, then a pink border, a brown one, a white one, and then a final blue outline. The third element is the same as the second and the fourth is the same as the first. See supplemental Jarvis file in Arts of Americas' office.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Cree. Quilled Shot Pouch, early 19th century. Hide, dyed porcupine quill, deer hair, glass beads, thread, fur, 12 x 6 1/2 in. (30.5 x 16.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.16. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 50.67.16.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 50.67.16.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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