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Bandolier BagEnlarge image

Bandolier Bag, early 20th century

Unknown (Anishnaabe [Ojibwa] Artist)

glass beads, cotton, yarn
91.5 x 41 x 6 cm
Gift of the Henry Birks Collection of Canadian Silver, 1979
National Gallery of Canada (no. 27709)

Modelled after European military bags, bandolier bags were made traditionally and exclusively by women for men to wear during special occasions. Essentially a large rectangular pouch with a long continuous strap these bags probably originated around the 1840s or 1850s. Although very few bandolier bags have been made since the 1940s, some are occasionally made today. Usually worn one at a time over the shoulder and across the body, the bags could also be draped over the neck, hung over a saddle or horse's neck, or worn several at a time. Unfortunately this bag is missing one of the six original tassels that are meant to sway in the dancing of the bag. Like some other works in this room, this intricately beaded bag is decorated with bold floral and foliate motifs. While many Anishnaabe beaded floral designs reflect Euro-Canadian patterns and designs, they are executed in an original manner that is stylistically different from the non-Aboriginal examples.

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