Explore Magazine Volume 4 Issue 1


"Fancy Vest"

Chippewa/Ojibwa (Anishinabe), Northeast
Woodlands region
c. 1880 - 1900
Velvet, trade cloth, beads, brass
18 x 19 in.

At the end of the 19th century, the women of the Chippewa/Ojibwa tribe were converting Victorian-age fashions to meet their own aesthetic sensibilities. This elegant vest is decorated on both front and back in the beaded floral patterns for which the Great Lakes tribes are noted. It was created not only to bring attention to the wearer, but also to showcase the talent and industriousness of the woman who made it, thus bringing her added recognition within her community.

This is one of the 110 objects of Native American art on view through September 29, 1999 at the Harn Museum of Art in the exhibition "Giving Honor: Native American Women's Art from the Florida Museum of Natural History." Focusing on the traditional women's arts of basketry, textiles, ceramics and beadwork, the exhibit examines how women of the various tribes and regions of North America embellished utilitarian objects to give honor to themselves, their families and the people to whom they gave these creations. The exhibit, drawn from the Florida Museum of Natural History's extensive Pearsall Collection, marks the first major collaborative effort between the University of Florida's two museums.