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Antique Iroquois Beaded Cuffs Victorian Era 1870-1890


Brand Poppy's Vintage Clothing

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This is a rare pair of Iroquois beaded cuffs dating to the mid-to-late Victorian era, circa 1870 to 1890.  These Iroquois beaded cuffs are sometimes attributed to the Ursuline Sisters who ran residential schools along the St Lawrence River as early as 1668 - the Ursulines, however, educated both Aboriginal and European children together, and my suspicion is that traditional beadwork like this would have been done by Aboriginal students, if these particular pieces would have originated with the Ursulines.  The Iroquois began selling beadwork early in the 19th century, so these could have originated directly from a tribal artisan. In any case, the beadwork is typically Iroquois Confederacy.  

The beadwork on these Iroquois beaded cuffs is in the form of flowers and leaves.  The beads are opaque white, translucent blue and gold, and are applied on brown velvet.  The cuffs have maple leaf shaped brass hooks and two sets of metal eyes, that would allow the cuffs to be sized to two different diameters.  Unfortunately, one of the maple leaf hooks is missing.  These Iroquois beaded cuffs measure 6 5/8” from hook to eye and have a width of 2”.  Aside from the missing hook, they are in very good condition with a bit of wear to the velvet and a few missing beads in the same area on the edge - otherwise, they have been very well preserved. 

Iroquois beaded cuffs like these would have been used to cinch sleeve cuffs and to be decorative at the same time.

Gorgeous Iroquois beaded cuffs - very pretty display items!