1906.83.1

Deerskin coat with painted decoration, off European pattern, bound with cloth. Decorative quillwork band on shoulder. [Laura Peers 28/3/2000]

Place details: N AMERICA. Canada. Cultural Group: NE Subarctic Cree Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Moose Hide Skin Animal / Quill / Textile / Cotton Yarn Plant / Pigment / Animal Hair / Metal / ?. Processes: Bound / Painted / Quillwork / Appliqué / Stitched / Woven / ?. Dimensions: Max L = 1360 mm (from top of collar to top of lower hem fringe not incl fringe) Field Collector: ?probably Thomas James Carter When Collected: By 1906 Other Owners: ?probably Thomas James Carter PRM Source: probably Thomas James Carter Acquired: Purchased November 15 1906 Documentation: See RDF for additional information from Laura Peers, Department of History, University of Winnipeg. PRM Image: PR 75.L.46, PR 75.L.47; CS113.11

KEYWORD: Coat / CLASS: Clothing / ?.

Object description: Deerskin coat with painted decoration, of European pattern, bound with cloth. Decorative quillwork band on shoulder. Long wrap coat with just one button at the collar. The amount of overlapping or crossover fabric at the front is unusual, suggesting that the design may have been copied from a European dressing gown. Faced at the front edges, the cuffs and the collar with red and tan wool [?]brocade fabric. There are traces of natural-coloured/ cream wool lining in the sleeves. The facing is crudely sewn, and appears to have been repaired or tacked back down with a contrasting white thread relatively recently. There are a series of painted or possibly stamped stencils at the front edges, a deep border around the hem in red and blue paint. The painted designs extend under the textile facing, and the hide under the facing is much cleaner, suggesting that the facing might be a later addition. There is one band of woven quillwork with tinkle cones and hair tufts inserted into them, on the back of the shoulders. There is a quill wrapped fringe at the lower edge. The seams of the garment show at least three different kinds (or qualities) of stitching: there is a short sinew-sewn area at the collar; other seams originally sewn neatly with cotton or linen thread; some seams have cruder stitching, some in black thread. The amount of dirt and wear suggests use. [Laura Peers 28/3/2000]

Accession Book Entry - Mr. T. J. CARTER, Oxford. N. American deerskin coat with painted and appliqué decoration, [in a different hand] EUROPEAN pattern. EASTERN WOODLANDS AREA, CREE TRIBE. [in original hand] pd. petty cash 11/0

Pitt Rivers Museum label - Deer- skin coat, made after a European model, with painted designs and applique work of stained porcupine quill. N. AMERICA, EASTERN WOODLANDS AREA CREE TRIBE. Purch. 1906 (Carter). [FB 07/04/2015]

Pitt Rivers Museum label - N. AMERICA N.E. Subarctic. Cree. Deer-skin coat. Purch: Carter. [FB 07/04/2015]

Related Documents File - Laura Peers, Department of History, University of Winnipeg, examined the object on 20/5/97 and left: 'Additions to existing catalogue information: description says "fine quillwork bands on shoulders"; only 1 band on 1 shoulder as of May 1997. -red wool brocade fabric used to outline and finish collar, cuffs, opening of coat: most unusual; so is the remnant of the fine cream-coloured wool fabric used to line the sleeves and -- judging from remnants of this in other seams -- to line the whole coat. Seams appear to have been sewn with cotton thread rather than sinew. Explorer-trader David Thompson described such long coats, sewn by European tailors at fur posts and well like by Indians, as early as the 1780s. Aboriginal women also made these coats, copying the tailored details from garments obtained from traders.' [MOB 23/10/2001]

Research notes: Long wrap coat with just one button at the collar. The amount of overlapping or crossover fabric at the front is unusual, suggesting that the design may have been copied from a European dressing gown. Faced at the front edges, the cuffs and the collar with red and tan wool ?brocade fabric. There are traces of natural-coloured/ cream wool lining in the sleeves. The facing is crudely sewn, and appears to have been repaired or tacked back down with a contrasting white thread relatively recently. There are a series of painted or possibly stamped stencils at the front edges, a deep border around the hem in red and blue paint. The painted designs extend under the textile facing, and the hide under the facing is much cleaner, suggesting that the facing might be a later addition. There is one band of woven quillwork with tinkle cones and hair tufts inserted into them, on the back of the shoulders. There is a quill wrapped fringe at the lower edge. The seams of the garment show at least three different kinds (or qualities) of stitching: there is a short sinue-sewn area at the collar; other seams originally sewn neatly with cotton or linen thread; some seams have cruder stitching, some in black thread. The amount of dirt and wear suggests use. Laura Peers 28/3/2001

Examined in October 2006 by Thomas Shaw, an independent scholar formerly manager of Fort Snelling Historic Site, Minnesota. Shaw made the following comments: Deerskin is not a good hide for garments like this because it stretches too much, so this is probably made from elk. The coat is cut like a paletot (a highbred between a sackcoat and a frock coat), this style of garment was commonly worn by Europeans in the 1830s. The European garment this coat was influenced by or copied from would have been made no earlier than the 1820s and no later than 1842. The cloth/ brocade edging looks like a later addition to the coat and looks like the type of cotton around in the 1840s. The remnants of lining that still remain are wool shalloon, which was what the British army used to line military coats. There are remnants of stitching along the inside lower edge and a colour difference between the hide above and below this line; indicating that the coat was fully lined, the lining coming down to within a few inches of the fringe at the bottom hemline. The coat is butt stitched, which means the stitches can be seen from the outside of the coat and means the stitching is not protected from the weather; coats like this are usually welted as it is neater and gives more protection. [ZM 24/10/2006]