Vintage Metis Sash Ceinture Fléchée Northern Canada Mackenzie River w Apostolic Vicar Photo


Brand Etsy

I acquired this ceinture fléchée sash bundled up in a bag with a framed photo of Gabriel-Joseph-Elie Breynat, O.M.I., the Apostolic Vicar of the Mackenzie Vicariate. The Mackenzie vicariate included large areas of Northern Canada and was centred around the Mackenzie River. Breynat served as the vicar from 1901 until 1943 and was known as The Bishop of the Winds due to his extensive travels and missionary work in the harsh conditions of northern Canada. The frame contains, along with the photos and Joyeux Noel card, a card dated January 1938. I believe that this belt was made by a Metis weaver, possibly for the Vicar and maybe was a gift from the Vicar along his photos to a friend. The Metis were active in the Mackenzie River valley as fur trappers and these ceinture fléchée (arrow belt) sashes were traditional Metis handicraft items worn both as practical and decorative items. I would assume that it dates to some time during the 1930s, but it possibly could be older - please note the intricacy of the weave in the close-up photos supplied. This vintage ceinture flechée measures 80 in length including its fringed ends, and has a width of 2 1/8, narrower than the typical Quebec ceinture fléchée sashes that Ive seen. This vintage ceinture flechée is in excellent condition as I dont believe that it was ever used or displayed, simply bundled up in a bag until I discovered it. The colours are strong and bright and the yarn used is satiny - Im unsure of its base fibre. Note that the fringe at either end is of a different length - I assume that this was done purposefully. Im not an expert on sashes but the pattern appears to be not typical, but certainly incorporates arrow motifs - possibly, due to the width, this may be an example of finger weaving.
This is a nice old example of a vintage Northern Metis ceinture flechée - I dont think that these are very common, so a wonderful example of Metis culture!