Panel bag (fire bag) - ROM2017_15528_19


Panel bag (fire bag)

Medium:Wool, cloth, cotton, sinew, beads, tassel
Geography: Canada
Date: c. 1850-1860
18 × 33 × 46 cm
Object number: 960.115.2
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Norman S. Robertson
Not on view

The animal hide forerunners to such bags held live tinder – to be carried around for starting fires – so they were called “fire bags.” The term lasted long after such bags came to be made of woolen cloth and glass beads from Europe. Anishinaabe, Cree, and Métis women of the Red River Valley in Manitoba created the prototypes for modern fire bags as early as 1820. They then were re-interpreted by other Native peoples across western Canada, and widely adopted as fashion accessories by Indigenous, Métis, and European men of prestige in the fur trade. This bag with its loom-woven panel, dates to around 1840, belonged to Governor MacTavish of the Hudson’s Bay Company.

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