This is an absolutely unique fully beaded woman's ration ticket belt bag from the late 1870's to mid 1800's. What makes this a standout piece is the central theme of the bag, which was a Cheyenne woman's fascination with the latest Victorian fashion trend of recently imported Parisian silk parasols which were first seen by the Indians, being carried by the US Cavalry officer's wives who frequented the reservation, trading posts and forts. The Cheyenne women (along with other Plains tribes) were captivated by the contrasting colors, beaded fringes and carved handles of these lovely imports from Paris and insisted on owning them. The designs, colors and shapes influenced this woman's beaded bag as it shows two parasols on one side and a third on the reverse side. Almost identical parasol images can be found in the ledger drawings made by Cheyenne prisoners such as Howling Wolf. (See these images in "Between Two Cultures: The Ledger Drawings From Fort Marion" by Moira F. Harris.) This is a classic and rare example of Cheyenne interpretation of white cultural fashion trends in the late Victorian era and as such is a wonderful and valuable piece of cultural heritage from these proud people. The beaded bag measures 4" x 5 1/2" and is sewn onto US Cavalry belly strap leather with brain tanned deer skin ties. The beadwork is unique for its smaller than average bead size and has a color palette comprising every classic Civil War era color type traded on the Plains in the 1870's including a very small square patch of faceted metal beads in the center of the Cheyenne pink upper parasol and the fringe of the red and yellow lower parasol. It would be worth your while to peruse the numerous images of Cheyenne and Lakota ledger book drawings which show dozens of parasols and brightly colored silk shawls worn by the most stylish Indian women of the late 1870's. A very old hollow brass bead is suspended from one of the brain tanned leather draw strings. No bead loss at all. A magnificent piece of work!
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