Brilliantly Beaded: Northeastern Native American Beadwork

Niagara Falls – “the greatest market for splendid Indian work of every variety.”

Beadwork was a major source of income for the Mohawk, Tuscarora and Seneca of New York, who catered to the tourist clientele that flocked to Niagara Falls. The novelties or “whimsies” that they created, perfectly suited Victorian tastes and complemented late nineteenth century interior decorating schemes. Beaded pieces like the “FAST CANOE” and “BOX” suggest an element of humor in the dealings of Native Peoples with their non-Native buyers.

tea cozy

Maliseet Tea Cozy,  c.1875

Nancy & Roger Prince (NTP 14)

Seneca-style Double Watch Pocket, c.1830

With inscription : “James Percey Davey from his esteemed friend Wm Barry Ph…”

Nancy & Roger Prince (NTP 21)

double watch pocket

Mi’kmaq or Maliseet-style Purse, c.1875

Nancy & Roger Prince (NTP 18)

Maliseet-style Domed Cap, c.1850-1870
This cap is composed of six triangular-shaped panels.Maine State Museum (96.16.1)
domed cap
Tree-of-Life motif box

Maliseet Tree-of-Life Motif Box, c.1840

Nancy & Roger Prince (NTP 16)

Seneca-style envelope needle case, c.1860

Needle cases were an essential part of the Victorian woman’s sewing kit.

Nancy & Roger Prince (NTP 23)

envelope needle case