Belt, beaded, indigenous peoples North America
Wampum belt in traditional cobalt and white wampum beads. Comprising of thirty-one rows of imitation wampum glass beads strung on vegetable fibre threads with a course warp and a fine weft. The weft is doubled and the two threads pass over and under the warp, between every two beads. The design includes four groups of three figures clasping hands, apparently representing peaceful union, separated by rows of checkered diamonds of different sizes. Three of the twelve figures are skirted representing, it has been suggested, the long-tailed coats of the British. Belts were a means of communicating intent, reinforcing a speech and recording treaties. Symbols depicted by the beads often represented the importance of the message that the belt carried. For a belt actually used in diplomatic negotiations, however, the use of glass imitation wampum is highly unusual. It has been suggested that this particular belt was only a commemorative copy made for Colonel DePeyster. The checkered diamond shapes are very common on non-ceremonial glass wampum artefacts of the late eighteenth century This belt is believed to represent a peace treaty between the Sioux and Anishinabe tribes, apparently given to DePeyster at inter-tribal meeting at Michilimackinac, June 1775. Described in 1932 as ‘The Belt of the Grand Alliance’.