American Native Arts and Antiques

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Bear Clan Style Bag- Bearhide & beadwork


A larger size bear hide bag with beadwork on the front flap and shoulder strap by Paul St John, Mohawk. It is made in the style of the Iroquois bear clan bags.

The flap is made of vintage red wool on front, elkhide on the back and has Iroquois beaded designs and a trade silver style silver brooch with cut out bears, stamped bear paws and rocker engraved borders. The strap vintage black wool with red cotton lining edged with red silk ribbon. There is a repeated design on the strap that is a series of almost Y shapes - this design is what is on the top edges of vintage Iroquois potter. At the ends of the strap where it attaches to the bag top are beaded bear paw designs, one on each end. The flap has beadwork edging all around 3 sides with a beaded line at the top edge. Around the sides and bottom are 8 Iroquois Sky Dome designs, this is a design relevant to the Iroquois creation story. As mentioned there is a brooch silver brooch in the center of the flap done in a trade silver style. (From 1680-1820 items made from silver were traded to mostly Northern tribes in exchange for furs... brooches similar to this and ones much smaller as well as much larger were very popular trade items. This is a Native American made brooch and was done to honor "Bear Clans". Most Iroquois tribes have a Bear Clan. There are 4 long leather strips at each top front side of bag, just below where the shoulder strap attaches. These are also elk hide and are 14" long.

Paul St John was given a damaged vintage bear skin rug, head, legs included. This bag, like traditional bear clan style bags was made from the fur on the bear's head. The bear fur is very very thick and very very soft, shiny. The bag itself is 8.5" long and 7.25" across. The flap hangs 5.5" over the front. The bear fur is about 1.5" below the bottom of the bag ... so it is about 10" long ... Strap is 24" long from center back of strap to side attachments. This is a shoulder bag. You could wear as part of regalia, a shoulder bag or use this as a decorative display item.

This is one of 3 bear hide bags on this site and NONE of them can be sold/shipped out of the country or to the following states - Alaska, California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin. There may be others where bear hide/fur/claws/bones/parts are illegal. If you reside in one of them or any of the states listed please do not order any item that is made from bear. Should you purchase one and I see it is being shipped to one of the states above, I will not ship and will refund your money to your paypal account. Should your state have recently passed a law making the purchase or ownership of bear hide illegal - it is your responsibility to know this and not purchase this piece.

Bear Clan Style Bag
Bear Clan Style Bag - Close up
Bear Clan Style Bag - beadwork Close up
Bear Clan Style Bag - back
Weight: 1 lb