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Beaded Purse
1860-1890
USA: New York (probably)
Glass; cotton; linen; velvet
overall: 6 3/4 x 6 1/4 x 5/8 in.; 17.145 x 15.875 x 1.588 cm
Gift of Prescott Richardson Collection
91.055.55

Native American style beaded purse. Black velvet body with a flap on both sides. Beads arranged in a floral design, clear and white, pink and red, light and dark blue, and green and gold. Red linen tape edging; opening is bound in in purple. Purple ribbon handle and tan linen lining.


Native American beadworkers developed their own identifiable aesthetic in the late 1800s. This purse was probably made in the Niagara Falls area and sold to a tourist as a souvenir. Making beadwork like this allowed Native American women to earn a living, while also following their traditional lifestyle.