Artifact of the Month

Iroquois Raised Beadwork Frame
Donated by Jim Vaughan


Iroquois Beaded Frame
Gertie Copening

This decorative frame belong to Gertie Copening (1881-1962) of Hindsville (Madison County). The message on the postcard in the frame reads, "May Christmas peace keep winter from the heart."

The frame is an example of Iroquois raised beadwork, a tradition originated by the Iroquois in western New York in the late 1700s. The beadwork became popular in the 1800s, when frames, pincushions, needle cases, and other items were sold as souvenirs and keepsakes at fairs, exhibitions, wild west shows, and other venues. Contemporary artists continue this tradition of beadwork today.

Learn more:
Iroquouis Indian Museum's beadwork webpage

Iroquois Beadwork: A Haudenosaunee Tradition and Art by Dolores Elliott, in Preserving Tradition and Understanding the Past: Papers from the Conference on Iroquois Research, 2001–2005, edited by Christine Sternberg Patrick; published by the New York State Museum

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