Quillwork Cuff

A decorated quill work cuff (early 20th century). A decorated quill work cuff (early 20th century). © Trustees of the British Museum, acc. no. Am 1949,22.129.

Many of the Eastern Woodlands and Plains Indians of North America, such as the Cree and Huran, used beading and quillwork, as well as moose hair embroidery and tassels, to decorate their garments and footwear. The example illustrated here is a sleeve cuff made from animal hide (probably buckskin), which has been decorated with porcupine quill work, tassels and imported glass beads.

The tassels were probably made around a moose hair core. The dyed and undyed quills were used to create the main geometric pattern that is based on triangles and rectangles. The bands of coloured (green, red, white) beads were used to decorate the sides of the cuff, while the multi-coloured tassels lined the cuff's lower edge. The hide was then folded in half and sewn up the sides in order to make the cuff. The cuff is believed to be of Cree origin and dates to the early twentieth century.

British Museum online catalogue (retrieved 30 June 2016).


Last modified on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 17:03