moccasins, indians, native americans, Tuxen, collections, collecting, shoes, moesgaard museum, ethnography, museum

Prairie Indian moccasins: A shoe mystery…?

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North America

Whenever I feel uninspired and unsure as to what to write about, I always turn to collection EA600. This collection is solely (pun intended) made up of shoes. Shoes from Morocco, India, Iceland, Japan, Canada, Kenya, Denmark, Greenland – you name it! In a previous post, we have described Søren Ludvig Tuxen, the avid shoe collector who gathered the 242 pairs of shoes that make up EA600. He was a zoologist, and approached his shoe collecting with a scientist’s meticulous eye for detail. Every shoe was catalogued; he described what he knew of its history, the materials it was made of, and how it made its way into his collection. Take these beautifully beaded moccasins, for example. He did not know much about them, but he noted the following:

“Prairie Indian moccasins. Given to me on April 30 1958 by antiques dealer Suude, Copenhagen, who had just bought them in London. They came with no information of any kind. They have a firm sole made from animal skin, with the hairs still attached in places. The hair is black; I do not know from what animal it comes. The moccasins themselves are made of soft skin, and are completely covered in beads, mainly white, but with triangular patterns in green, yellow, red, and blue. Two green lines on the arch, two red lines at the heel, and five small red dots. According to my book on Native Americans (‘Indian crafts and costumes’ p. 48), they are very similar to what the Dakota Plain Indians wear.”

I wonder whether Tuxen guessed right… What do you think?

//Sophie Seebach

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