Saturday, May 21, 2011

Iroquois Wampum Belt

Object types
Place (findspot)
Found/Acquired USA 
Ethnic group
Made by Northeast Peoples 
Made by Iroquois 
Wampum belt, woven on 19 warps, with in the centre a maximum of 18 rows of beads. The warps are of two-ply 'S' twist wool, of native origin?, as are the wefts. The design consists of three rectangles, the one in the middle being 19 beads long and 18 wide, with a second rectangle inside, 8 long by 6 wide. The two end rectangles are 31 beads long, by 16 beads high at one end, and 33 beads long for the rectangle at the other end: the internal rectangles of are both 10 beads long, and 6 beads high. The ground is of purple beads, with the design in white. The uprights of the rectangles are two white beads wide, and the horizontal bars only one bead high. The bottoms and tops of the rectangles run along the edges of the belt. Since the middle rectangle has two more rows, this necessitates a reduction by two warps of the belt, between 7 and 27 wefts from the white rectangle in the centre. Whether this occured pre- or post-collection is uncertain. The peculiar shape of the belt is visible in the registration drawing. At both ends, three purple beads in, are white stripes, 5 rows wide at one end, and 6 rows wide at the other. The belt is 370 beads long.
Copy and photo from The British Museum.

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