Heavy coat of moose-skin, with sleeves, decorated with woven and appliqué work and painted designs in several colours, some showing influence of Plains. [Laura Peers 28/3/2001]
Place details: N AMERICA. Canada. Manitoba Red River Colony. Cultural Group: NE Subarctic ?Plains ?Métis Local Name: Unknown. Materials: Moose Hide Skin Animal / Pigment / Quill / Animal Claw / ?. Processes: Quillwork / Woven / Painted / Appliqué / ?. Dimensions: Max L = 1165 mm (back from top of collar to bottom edge) Field Collector: Unknown When Collected: By 1925 Other Owners: Wellcome purchased from Knight Frank Rutley, 2/11/1925 PRM Source: Wellcome Historical Medical Museum Acquired: Donated 1951 Other Numbers: WHMM no 41756 Documentation: C.f. King, J.C.H. 1982. THUNDERBIRD & LIGHTNING, Fig. 42. Copy of excerpt (p. 85) from The Spirit Sings Catalogue, with photograph of similar specimen. See Related Documents File for letter from Director of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum. PRM Image: PR 68.15.54, PR 68.16.54; CS113.11
KEYWORD: Coat / CLASS: Clothing / ?.
Object description: Moose or bison hide coat, painted and quilled. Paint in sunburst, double curves or rams horns emerging from top points of tall triangles. Spectacular woven quillwork epaulets lie over the shoulder and back seam. Five rosettes are arranged on the back. Each rosette has a quill-wrapped dangle with very small hooves/ dew claws instead of the usual metal cones, and dyed bundles of what looks like moose hair as tassels inserted into the 'hooves'. Bands of quillwork running down inside of sleeves. There is some flaking or loss of paintwork, but the quillwork is pristine. Construction appears to be with heavy commercial linen thread. Remnants of thread and holes around hem and front indicate this coat may have had a fur trim at one time. There is a tiny fragment of hide and fur partway down one front edge of the coat. There are also indentations at the end of each sleeve showing thread marks, suggesting that the sleeves had cuffs. [Laura Peers 28/3/2001, 20/8/2003].
Accession Book Entry - 'WELLCOME HISTORICAL MEDICAL MUSEUM, 28 PORTMAN SQUARE, LONDON, W.1.... - N. AMERICAN INDIAN, ?CREE, RED RIVER COLONY, N. OF GREAT LAKES & E. OF L. WINNIPEG. Heavy coat, of moose-skin, with sleeves, decorated with woven and appliqué quill-work and painted designs in several colours some shewing influence of Plains. Early 19th century. W.H.M.M. number 41756, purch. 2.11.1925, at a sale (K.F.& R.)'
Added Accession Book Entry - 'These objects are labelled 'Gift of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum' in accordance with the wish of the donors. v. letter from the Director, Dr. E. Ashworth Underwood, 30 Jan. 1951 (in pocket)'. [Now in RDF GI 4/2/2002]
Pitt Rivers Museum label - N. AMERICA N INDIAN ?CREE RED RIVER COLONY, N. OF GT. LAKES & E. OF L. WINNIPEG. Moose-skin, early 19th century. [on reverse] Gift of the Wellcome Historical Medical Museum. [FB 07/04/2015]
Related Documents File - Letter from E. Ashworth Underwood [Director, The Wellcome Historical Medical Museum] to T. K. Penniman dated 30 January, 1951, inviting the Pitt Rivers Museum to send a representative to select items from the Wellcome collection, housed temporarily at the British Museum. [GI 4/2/2002]
Display history: Lent to the Art Gallery & Museum, Kelvingrove, Glasgow, for the HOME OF THE BRAVE exhibition, 14 May - 28 September 1992.
Research notes: Identified as ?Cree by G.E.S. Turner. Identified as Metis by Sherry & Calvin Racette, 1989, by comparison with Museum of Mankind specimen illustrated in King, J.C.H. 1982 Thunderbird and Lightning, Fig. 42.