A good North American Indian beaded belt. Possibly 19th century. Decorated with 6 beaded blue circles and 6 red diamond shapes with a yellow centre. Set in a back ground of white beads. The two ends of the belt a decorative red and yellow V shape, in the middle the belt narrows, an indication that it could have possibly been worn round the neck. In good condition showing signs of use with very few beads missing. One of the best known art forms practiced by American Indians is bead work. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, native populations of North America created their own beads, the construction of beads was a long process. Using tools made of stone or wood and abrasives such as sand, prehistoric Indians would fashion beads from native materials. Most of the beads made by Native Americans were relatively large and were constructed to be worn strung on necklaces or thongs. It was not until the arrival of trade beads from Europe that the Indians could obtain small beads in sufficient quantities to make the beaded designs we know today. Beads were one of the earliest goods that the Europeans traded with the Native Americans. Spaniards were already trading beads into New Mexico by the middle of the 17th century. Ultimately all beads came from trading posts, but the Indians soon spread trade beads far and wide through their own exchange networks until they could be found in the most remote parts of the United States. Overall length 48 inches. Ref 1339.
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