Sunday, November 20, 2016

Oversize cards

Over the years I have picked up a small number of large format cards (approx 5.5 x 8.5"), often called jumbo. I am unsure of the history of this style but they seem to appear in the 1960s. Most of the ones that I have found are from the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina, so perhaps they were a tourist souvenir rather than a mailing option. Printing of this large format has continued and is used today for marketing purposes.

A colleague at my University recently gave me 2 more, including this map card. Its too detailed for a smaller format so the larger size seems more appropriate. It lists more tribes than most map cards and includes many who either did not survive contact or who merged into other social alliances. It has nice information but I wonder how much the average tourist consumer really appreciated the details...

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Navajo advertising weaving

The second trade brings another flag card, this one a Navajo weaving made to advertise a local car dealership. The textile was included in an interesting article "An American Birthday Card: Old Glory in Folk Art" published in Folk Art, summer 2001, pp. 54-60.
Curiously the weaver gave her flag 64 stars!

and as usual, the postal machines made this card's travel from Boston a bit rough!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Bandolier Bags

Fall has come to the Great Lakes with cooler temps, rain, early sunsets, and colorful trees. It also brings a wonderful new card obtained in exchange: a Winnebago beaded bandolier bag. The Winnebago, or Ho-Chunk, are a Great Lakes tribe traditionally residing in Wisconsin and Illinois where they were met by French explorers, traders, and priests in the 1600s. Like other Indigenous peoples in the region they were impacted by epidemics, trade conflicts and the arrival of American settlers. A portion of the community was removed to Nebraska in the mid 1800s.

Bandolier bags are an eastern Native art form. They are large pouches made from cloth that hung from the shoulders, decorated with porcupine quills or beads. They are a ceremonial clothing item, worn by men and given as gifts for important occasions. Great Lakes museums have a large number of examples available to view.

US flag motifs appear in Native artwork in the 1800s and 1900s as discussed in Herbst & Kopp's excellent reference book The Flag in American Indian Art, University of Washington Press (1993) which focuses primarily on Lakota examples. Perhaps this bag was made to honor someone's military service or possibly to be sold.

Card text identifies the bag as late 19th century.
It was sold by Skinner in 2011 for $5925

the postcard features a few road scars from its journey...