Rare Birch Bark Case, 19th Century
Mi’kmaq First Nations
Birch bark, porcupine quill, natural pigment, glass beads, silk ribbon
4.5" tall x 3" wide x .5" deep
*custom made metal stand included
Porcupine quillwork is an art form completely unique to North America. Before the introduction of glass beads, quillwork was a major decorative element used by the peoples who resided in the porcupine's natural habitat, which included in the Subarctic, Northeastern Woodlands, and Northern Plains. The use of quills in design spans from Maine to Alaska, and quill working tools were discovered in Alberta, Canada dating back to the 6th century AD.
The Mi'kmaq (Micmac) First Nations occupies New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Maine. Known for their elaborate quill and beadwork, objects like this case were highly sought after keepsakes by traders and tourists at the turn of the last century, as they were created to emulate European cigar or card cases.