ataahsema ‘Leggings’

ataahsema ‘Leggings’, 19th century
Deer hide, wool and silk
Collected by Milford Chandler in 1920
Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, 2222

We have learned a lot about the transition from older to newer materials by looking at these leggings. They were likely made by women from the Godfroy family for a male relative. They incorporate deer hide cut into intricate patterns and then sewn onto wool cloth. This older technique was combined with ribbonwork, remnants of which can also be seen on the sides of the leggings and at the bottom cuffs. If you look closely, you can see stitching in a geometric design along the entire length of the hide, showing us that the ribbonwork ran the entire length of the leggings at one time, but silk ribbon is a fragile material. These leggings were purchased by Milford Chandler in 1920.