Unknown artist, Micmac, Canada; Maine
Woman’s hood, ca. 1775
Wool twill weave with glass beadwork and applied silk ribbon
Height: 36.8 cm (14 1/2 inches)
Gift of Edward B. Goodnow 81.019.10
Inhabiting North America’s eastern reaches, the Mi’kmaq were among the first tribes to come into contact with European people in the early seventeenth century. French nuns brought with them Venetian glass beads, which could be easily applied to trade-cloth garments. These garments began to replace skin clothing and birchbark accessories decorated with quillwork. By the eighteenth century, a second flowering of Mi’kmaq decorative arts took form in collars, moccasins, men’s coats, and traditional women’s conical hoods decorated with fine beadwork. The RISD woman’s hood, of red trade cloth, dates from the height of this new age of beadwork. The double-curve motifs are typical and probably derive from ancient Mi’kmaq art.