American Native Arts and Antiques

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Wabanaki Woman Doll (vintage style clothing) - Smaller


This Wabanki woman doll is wearing traditional mid to late 1800's clothing featuring traditional peaked cap of vintage red wool with very bottom of back of the made of vintage navy blue wool. White beaded Wabanaki double curve designs are sewn on the cap. She has a navy blue wool skirt and short red wool jacket, both with ribbon work. (more on her clothing and adornment below) This smaller doll has been meticulously crafted by Paul St. John, Mohawk craftsman. The doll is made of very soft brain tanned deer hide - it is nearly white.

This doll is 10.5" high with peaked cap another 1.5" above her head, her outstretched arms are 7.25" across and she is about 2" deep. As mentioned the doll is of very soft very light color Native tanned deer hide. Her moccasins are traditional style rising just above the ankle, of the same soft deer leather as her body. -----------------You will get the doll stand shown in some of the photos with the doll.

The doll's skirt has red silk ribbon at the bottom and the jacket has blue silk ribbon around the bottom of the sleeves and at both sides of the open front. The ribbon is affixed with vintage white seed beads - on the blue ribbon the beads are sewn on in pairs. There is an undulating medium blue thinner ribbon which is at the sides of the jacket opening and above the bottom of the skirt, this is affixed with single vintage white seed beads. The doll's leggins are of red wool (like the peaked cap) and they have navy blue ribbon at the bottom of each leg that is affixed with single vintage white seed beads. The doll wears a long tunic blouse/shirt of printed calico material with undulating vines and small flowers. The doll's peaked cap is lined with a bright medium blue calico material that has turquoise flowers and light blue leaves and vines.

Doll wears a "silver" trade brooch at the top of her neck and has a beaded necklace and beaded loop earrings of black and metallic seed beads. Her hair is a braid of fine black yarn.

Last photo is a 1880's picture of 2 MicMacs (one of the 5 tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy) - The woman is seated - she wears a beaded peaked cap, a short jacket and long skirt with ribbon work. She has a trade silver brooch which appears to be closing her jacket - about mid opening of the jacket.

Not only is this doll visually correct for the era, the very materials Paul uses are traditional and accurate. The woolen material used in this doll's clothing is vintage - this wool was purchased by Paul when an old woolen mill in NY state went out of business and sold old woolen stocked fabric. The calico cotton materials are of old designs. The doll is made of soft tanned leather, it is from the Pleasant Point Maine Passamaquoddy reservation. (Sipayik). Paul has made similar dolls for several museum exhibits and permanent displays including the Mohawk, the Passamaquoddy, the Maliseet, the MicMac, Mt Kearsarge Museum in NH ... You would be accurate in describing this as a "museum quality" doll

Paul makes his vintage dolls dressed for different occasions from quite formal to everyday clothing. This is a "no face" doll - Several NE Native American tribes made "no face dolls" and there are stories and legends about why the dolls have no face. One story is that the Creator and the child together should determine the “personality” of the doll. Another story is that if a face is painted on the doll, the child will begin to identify too closely with the doll’s personality and a pretty face may cause conceit or self-pride. Yet another is that the dolls were so beautifully made, and given beautiful clothing that when someone added a beautiful face, the doll itself became vain.

Wabanaki Woman Doll-Smaller
Wabanaki Woman Doll-Smaller;  side view
Wabanaki Woman Doll-Smaller;  back view
MicMacs c/1880 (part of Wabanaki Confederacy)
Weight: 10 oz