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Cherokee embroidered deerskin coat
A tanned deerskin coat, Cherokee, circa the mid-19th century. The coat has a standing band collar, an integral cape, applied cuffs and an olive gray silk lining. It also has an inset pocket on each side of the lower front and deerskin fringes at all seams and edges except for the collar and edges of the cuffs. The coat was originally sewn with linen thread, later repairs made with cotton. The coat is extensively embroidered with silk floss in designs that are predominantly vines of foliage and flowers. These motifs adorn the upper and lower sections of the cape, the collar, sleeves, front opening and the lower front. At the lower back is a tree, entwined with vines, in which two Eastern bluebirds (Sialia sialis) and two Baltimore orioles (Icterus galbula) are perched. These two species are also present on the cape, with the orioles in two color schemes. In the center upper section of the cape is a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and on each sleeve above the cuff is a turkey (Melanerpes erythrocephalus). Two types of butterfly, one an unidentified swallowtail (Papilio sp.), rest on flowers at the lower front of the coat. The collar, cape, cuffs, pockets, front opening and hem are all trimmed with various chain-stitched bands. Embroidered over the decorative hem bands are: "J. M. Payne / Nancy Riley / 1854 / Polly Weber / Cherokee". Twelve colors of floss are employed, each appearing in each major area of embroidery: light gray; grayish and dark blue; dark grayish yellow; medium olive and dark grayish green; medium yellowish pink; grayish and dark grayish red; grayish reddish orange; dark grayish, light yellowish, and light grayish yellowish brown. Each bird has a silver-colored metal bead for its eye. Modern snap fasteners are added at the front opening.
Content Category: artifacts
38 inches length (base of collar to hem)
24 inches length (sleeve)
36 inches circumference (chest)
Made by: Webber, Polly
Made by: Payne, J. M.
Made by: Riley, Nancy
Made by: Cherokee Indians
Collected by: Sanborn, John B. (John Benjamin)
Indian. Clothing. Outerwear. Coats & Vests
Creation: 1852 - 1865
Minnesota Historical Society Collections
|Holding Type||3D Objects|
66.27.1 (Accession Number)