American Native Arts and Antiques

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Owls on Large Box Iroquois BOX purse


Excellent condition and very beautifully done, this beaded Box purse is over 100 years old. On the two larger sides a beaded owl sits among branches against a green velvet background. The two smaller sides have a floral like design on the hot pink cotton fabric that became a popular background for Iroquoisian beadwork in 1890 and lasted thru about 1920. The bordering edges on all four sides are done in raised beadwork. The flap covering the top opening is also hot pink fabric background with the word "BOX" done in medium and dark blue beading. All edging is in clear beads. There are six bead dangles hanging from the bottom of the purse - one on each corner and one in the center of the two larger sides. The handle is of two lengths of clear beads, twisted. The inside is lined with pale pink polished cotton.

The purse is 5.75" from top of flap to bottom of purse. Beaded dangles hang an additional 3" below purse bottom. The two owl sides are 6.5" across, the smaller pink sides are 3" across. The top flap is 4" long and 3" wide. The beaded handle extends 9.5" above top of purse.

All beads are present. It appears in absolutely perfect condition, but if you look very closely there are two tiny holes, one on each of the two pink sides. Unlikely you will find such an unusual motif on a similar purse that is in this near perfect condition.

The owls here are very detailed and instantly recognizable as owls - down to their beak and talons holding onto the branches. Owls are an unusual subject for an Iroquois purse due to Iroquois beliefs and mythology about the owl's place in their world.

Iroquois Owl Purse
Close up of owl
Top flap"BOX"
Smaller Pink/Floral side
Owl on Green Velvet side
Weight: 2 lb