American Native Arts and Antiques

Exceptional Current and Vintage Native American Arts

Shopping cart

0 Items $0.00

Reproduction - Early 1800's "Keyhole" Bag - Wabanaki Style


This beautiful wrist purse/bag is made by Paul St John, Mohawk craftsman. It is in the shape called a "keyhole" bag which was made by Northeastern Wabanaki peoples pre-1850 as early as 1800. The bead decoration is also of designs from this earlier era. It is nonfloral and makes use double curves, triangles and diamond designs - with the row of diamond shapes at the top and in the center. These are design motifs used by all of the Northeast Woodland tribes - Including tribes in the Iroquois and the Wabanaki Confederacies.

The bag is of vintage red trade wool. Bag is bound with green silk ribbon and the strap is made of that same ribbon. The beaded design on the bag is done in vintage glass seed beads of yellow/gold, medium blue, green, dark translucent red and white.

The bag is 7" long and is 6.75" across at widest (center). The wrist strap is 8" from top center of strap to side of bag at it's attachment point - this allows for you to wear over your wrist. Strap is 1/2" wide. - You could also attach this bag to your belt as part of your regalia - holding several essentials inside; small wallet, medicine bundle, prescription medicine, - etc Or use it as a beautiful display piece.

The beadwork designs on the bag red are strikingly beautiful.

The non-floral design here is similar to those used on bags made in the first quarter of the 19th century. A book that has several photographs of these earlier non-floral design Northeast bags is called "Made of Thunder, Made of Glass; American Indian Beadwork of the Northeast" by Gerry Biron & JoAnne Russo. It is a valuable resource for the photos alone - the history etc included is an added bonus.

Should you wish to know more of Paul St John who is a registered Mohawk that was raised on his father's Mohawk lands but now lives in Maine near his mother's people (She is Passamaquoddy, Maliseet & MicMac - 3 of the 5 tribes in the Wabanaki Confederacy)

Keyhole Shape - Wabanaki Beaded Bag
Keyhole Shape - Wabanaki Beaded Bag - just bag
Keyhole Shape - Wabanaki Beaded Bag - back
Keyhole Shape - Wabanaki Beaded Bag - Main Design
Weight: 10 oz