Age of this Aboriginal beaded jacket?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion Q & A' started by Joji Furukawa, Jan 14, 2019.

  1. Joji Furukawa

    Joji Furukawa Registered Guest

    I found this jacket at the thrift store yesterday for $10 and from my research and from similar examples, I believe it dates to the 1950s but I’d just like to confirm. The fabric lining looks to be from that period or maybe a bit earlier however the plastic buttons make me think later, although I’m assuming plastic buttons existed in the 50s. The leather is warmer and yellower in real life. Also should this jacket be cleaned or left alone? And finally, it is missing some buttons, does anyone know the specific name for this type of button? Any help would be appreciated!

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  2. Lucybelle

    Lucybelle Registered Guest

    I can't clearly see the face of the buttons, but they look to be shank buttons that are held on with cotter pins. That makes the buttons easily removable for cleaning if needed.
  3. Jonathan

    Jonathan Trade Member

    Good score! It's definitely indigenous workmanship - Northern Plains - Canadian side of the border -- Cree or Blackfoot maybe as far north as Dene? It looks to be Native brain-tanned elk or moose hide for that white colour. The lining is unusual, as are the buttons. I suspect they are original because the coat appears to be Native made, not commercial, and the seamstress may have used what was at hand - those types of buttons are most commonly used on nursing uniforms of the 1920s - 1960s. Usually coats like this use leather buttons but if the maker didn't have access to button forms to make leather buttons, these would have worked out of necessity. It is definitely post war because of the translucent beads - prewar beads are most often opaque - the red beads have white centres before the 1940s (generally) I would guess 1950s or early 60s. It's a honest piece, and a good example of transitional Native dress. Possibly made for trade, but just as likely made for Native wear.

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