Why Antique Indian Beadwork Are The Most Cherished Native American Collectibles

Why No Collection Of Native American Collectibles Is Complete Without Antique Indian Beadwork

Whether it’s for fashion or for a museum display, Native American collectibles only grow in popularity over time. Antique Indian beadwork is among the most collectible of the Native American collectibles. Before Native Americans used beads on their clothing, they painted them. That said, even before the European settlers in America introduced them to beads, Native Americans were beginning to incorporate bead-like items into their garments which were made from bones and dried berries. How Antique Indian Beadwork Came To Be

In 1675 or thereabouts, settlers from Europe came to the Americas with brightly colored beads made of glass to trade with the Native Americans. These early beads found in antique Indian beadwork are actually called pony beads since pony pack trains carried them to Native American villages. For the most part, these beads were blue, but others were white and even a brownish red. So, antique Indian beadwork took on a predominantly blue striped look with some reds and whites mixed in. Pony beadwork started to fade in popularity by the middle 1800s, when smaller beads with brighter colors started to be traded between Native Americans and white settlers. Indeed, over time, Native American collectibles, from moccasins to shirts, leggings to headbands, all seem to have some sort of beadwork worked into them. The needle and thread wasn’t introduced to Native American cultures for many years and actually, what they used to apply beads to Native American collectibles was called a sinew. Sinew is dried tendon from large game like an elk or deer.

The Varities Of Antique Indian Beadwork

There are three main kinds of Indian beadwork found in Native American collectibles. These are:

Overlaying Or Spot Stitching

This type of antique Indian beadwork is characterized by its curvaceous and flowery patterns.

The Lazy Stitch

Western Native Americans used this geometric style more commonly than other tribes.

Beads Woven With Looms

This particular style of beading is most likely traceable to the Ojibway peoples. As time and trade wore on, the practice became more commonplace among many other tribes. Since the tribes often migrated with big game, the loom was made to be ultra portable, which only lent to its popularity. Essentially, the loom was made of four pieces of flat wood and a sinew.

Its Popularity Holds Firm

Even nowadays, tribes of Native Americans are mimicking antique Indian beadwork styles to create new Native American collectibles to sell. If you are a collector of Native American collectibles, you know full well that it’s imperative to have many pieces of antique Indian beadwork as part of your archive.

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