Feather Cape

This feather cape was bought at an auction in England by William Sturtevant in 1987 with funds from the Milwaukee Public Museum's Friends of the Museum. It is believed to date to the 1830s and was made as part of the Iroquois "whimsy" complex, possibly by the Ottawa or Huron. The cape's feathers come from male and female mallard, gadwell, peacock, goose, and pheasant. The cape is sewn together with feathers, and the neck ties are made from yellow silk. It is thought that the cape was produced for sale specifically to Europeans as it matches the European fashion requirements of that time. However, the techniques utilized are based on older traditions of the tribes. At least 50 or so capes of this type are known to exist and few are in such good condition.
Catalog Number
E65507
87