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Shell Beads and Belts in 16th- and Early 17th-Century France and North America

Perles et colliers en coquillage en France et en Amérique du Nord au xvie siècle et au début du xviie siècle
Laurier Turgeon
Traduction de Margaret Rigaud
p. 40-59
Cet article est une traduction de :
Perles et colliers en coquillage en France et en Amérique du Nord au xvie siècle et au début du xviie siècle [fr]

Résumés

Les chercheurs s’accordent à dire que le collier de wampum est un objet nouveau apparu chez les Autochtones du nord-est de l’Amérique du Nord dans la première moitié du xviie siècle. Cependant, le contexte et les causes de la genèse de cet objet sont encore peu et mal connus. Les archéologues et les ethno-historiens ont souvent tenu pour acquis que les perles en coquillage dont il est fait sont d’origine autochtone, suivant une longue tradition ayant perduré jusqu’à l’époque coloniale. Si cette continuité existe, nous considérons que le wampum est aussi le produit de changements profonds. Il s’agit en effet d’un nouvel outil de communication interculturelle né des bouleversements provoqués par la colonisation européenne du xvie siècle et de la première moitié du xviie. Les travaux ont jusqu’à présent surtout abordé le rôle des Hollandais et des Anglais, négligeant celui des Français dont l’importance dans les échanges des perles et l’apparition du wampum est pourtant admise. Notre étude entend donc combler cette lacune par une analyse interdisciplinaire, combinant sources écrites et collections archéologiques.

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  • 1 French sources of the Colonial Era usually tend to use the word collier (necklace) to refer to thes (...)

1Wampum belts1 have become emblematic objects. Few originally Indigenous artifacts have attracted as much scholarly attention in fields as diverse as history, ethnology, archaeology and art history. In Colonial North America they were sought after by both Native Americans—especially Iroquoians—and Europeans. They are still very much in demand today by museum curators, collectors, as well as Native Americans, who view them as powerful symbols of identity.

2Although wampum belts have inspired a large number of studies for over a century, the context and the conditions of their emergence are still little known or misunderstood. Studies on the material culture of North America during the period when Europeans and Indigenous groups first came into contact have overwhelmingly tended to privilege European glass beads to shell beads (Kidd 1970; Kenyon and Kenyon 1983; Fitzgerald 1990; Karklins 1992, Moreau 1994; Turgeon 2001 and 2019; Delmas 2016; Loewen 2016). Studies on the seashells used in wampum belts have usually assumed that they were originally Indigenous and traded by Native Americans in the 16th century. According to this interpretive model, the trade in Indigenous seashells arose at the same time and developed at the same pace as the trade in European goods (Beauchamp 1901; Bradley 1987 and 2011; Ceci 1989; Fenton 1998; Pendergast 1989; Peña 1990; Sempowski 1989). In this model, Algonquian groups from the Atlantic coast traded these beads with Iroquoians from the interior, initially on the Chesapeake, via the Susquehanna River, and later in the area around Long Island, via the Hudson River (Ceci 1989; Bradley 2011; Williamson 2016). The use of Indigenous materials to make the belts is often cited as an example of the endurance of Native American cultural practices during the Colonial era and as an expression of Indigenous resistance to European acculturation (Hamell 1996; Fenton 1998; Bradley 2011).

3Although I agree on the existence of this tradition, I argue that wampum belts were also the product of profound changes. In my hypothesis, they emerged as novel tools for intercultural communication in the wake of the upheavals that followed 16th- and early 17th- century European contacts, trade and colonization. It is also worth noting that up until now studies have mostly focused on the Indigenous groups of the Northeastern United States and on the impact of the Dutch and the English in the 17th century, rather than on the 16th century and the activities of the French in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the Atlantic coast.

4This study seeks to shed light on the chronology, origins and reasons for the emergence of these intercultural objects, with a particular focus on the role of the French. I seek to broaden the perspective on these artifacts: my study starts with the first contacts between Indigenous groups and Europeans in the very early 16th century and examines wampum in the larger context of the bead trade. The tubular shell and occasionally glass beads at the center of the wampum trade were part of a larger trade in beads made of shell, glass and enamel, as well as mineral and organic matter. I also believe that it is important to consider and compare the use of beads in France and among the Indigenous peoples of North America, in order to understand how practices converged and differed. Whereas entire Dutch bead assemblages have been discovered and studied in both the Netherlands and North America (Baart 1988; Bradley 2007 and 2011; Karklins 1974, 1983; Kenyon and Fitzgerald 1986; Lenig 1999) there have been no serious attempts to sift through the French archives and locate the major bead collections of France. Moreover, the 16th century remains little known and poorly understood because French Colonial sites date from the 17th century, as do most French travel narratives.

Fig. 1. Beads of varied provenance. North America, 16th–17th centuries. Whelk, plant fibers, length 1.4-3 cm x diam. 0.7-1.5 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1878.32154. Formerly in the Cabinet des médailles [Coin Cabinet], Bibliothèque nationale de France.

Fig. 1. Beads of varied provenance. North America, 16th–17th centuries. Whelk, plant fibers, length 1.4-3 cm x diam. 0.7-1.5 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1878.32154. Formerly in the Cabinet des médailles [Coin Cabinet], Bibliothèque nationale de France.

The absence of metal tools in the making of these beads indicates their age. Beads of this kind predated tubular wampum beads. They were rare and reserved to high-ranking individuals.

© musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, photo Pauline Guyon.

5In order to meet these objectives, I used two new categories of sources: a mid to late 16th- century bead collection from the Carrousel Gardens in Paris (Van Ossel 1991) and a sample of contemporaneous notarial deeds held in Paris and various French port cities. The deeds probably constitute the only French written source on the activities of the French in 16th-century North America, because there is almost no administrative record of that period. My research in Paris essentially focused on the postmortem inventories of Parisian patenôtriers or “paternosterers” in English (from the Italian patenostriers, i.e. rosary makers). In the port cities of Rouen, La Rochelle and Bordeaux, I focused instead on the business contracts of local merchants actively involved in the Canadian trade. The postmortem inventories of Parisian paternosterers include lists of beads (often with a description of their material, color, shape, and size) and descriptions of the tools used to make them. Occasionally, they may also contain copies of the odd unpaid invoice with the name and address of the defaulting customer, which can help us to reconstruct the networks of the bead trade. The notarial contracts found in port cities provide interesting information on the purchase of beads and other goods destined for the Native American trade. With this information in mind, I then re-read French 16th- and 17th-century travel narratives and re-examined the many American and Canadian archaeological collections drawn from a century of excavations on Native American sites.

Shell beads in France

  • 2 It seems likely that under the pen of Parisian notaries, the word émail (i.e. enamel) referred to b (...)

6My research on the postmortem inventories of Parisian bead-makers casts light on the nature and uses of beads, including shell beads, in 16th-century France. In total, I identified and analyzed thirty-one inventories drawn up between 1562 and 1610. They mention beads of every shape, size and color. Glass and enamel2 account for a little over half the total number of beads in these inventories, and jet and shell for about a quarter. The rest were made of mineral (rock crystal, coral, cornelian, chalcedony) and organic (amber, wood, horn, bone, ivory) matter. The tools and implements mentioned in the inventories suggest that the large majority of these beads were made in situ. Most paternosterers worked with just one material: Jehan Pieron, for example, worked with shell and his inventory lists more than 500 shell beads, twelve full shells, three grinding wheels with belts and thirty-seven oak molds of different lengths (AN, MCN, XX-128, 7 January 1581).

7Shell beads, as indeed nearly all other types of beads, were used to make rosaries in the Middle Ages. By the Renaissance, however, they were more commonly found on clothing: the fashion for adorning clothes with gemstones, glass and shell beads spread through France in the 16th century (Boucher 1996: 191–203) as evidenced in Renaissance costume books (Bruyn 1581; Vecellio 1590; Glen 1601). If gemstones were undeniably prestigious, the upper classes also liked to embellish their clothing with exotic shells, notably cowrie shells imported from Africa or even India. Beads were sewn onto hats, shirts and coats, and increasingly on gloves, handbags, boots and belts (Farcy 1890: 37; Wolters 1996: 36–39).

  • 3 According to Furetière’s dictionary of 17th-century French, an escarcelle was a large pouch that hu (...)

8Belts embroidered with enamel and shell beads also started to appear in 16th-century French inventories and seem to have been fashionable at the time. The inventories mention several such items, including “a belt trimmed with enamel beads” (AN, MCN, IX– 154, 20 October 1573); “a small black and white enameled belt trimmed with small paternosters” (AN, MCN, XCI-130, 6 April 1584); and a “belt of enameled gold gems with 121 round beads” (AN, MCN, VI-210, 16 June 1631). Shell beads were also used to decorate handbags. Jehan Dulaye’s inventory included “five escarcelles [i.e. purses]3 made with embroidered white shells” (AN, MCN, III–321, 30 May 1570). Interestingly, Jehan Pieron kept a “white porcelain belt” (AN, MCN, XX-128, 7 January 1581) in his shop, that is to say a belt made of white shell beads: at the time, the word porcelaine (from porcellana, Italian for cowrie shells) referred to shell beads (Greimas 1992, see “porcelaine”; Hamel 1992: 464).

  • 4 These trenches were dug for sand in the second half of the 16th century, in order to build the Tuil (...)
  • 5 Trenches were dug all over that area during the excavations, and the contents of two of them were s (...)
  • 6 The trenches included a greater proportion of enameled soft clay beads than the inventories after d (...)

9Most of the data from these postmortem inventories is supported by the study of a collection of 110 beads, including forty different types of beads, discovered in the Carrousel Gardens, a site dating from 1572 to 1605 and located in the vicinity of the Louvre (Van Ossel 1991: 354). The beads were concentrated in two- to four-meter deep pits4 that were gradually filled with household waste, probably from adjoining neighbor-hoods.5 As in the postmortem inventories, this collection included beads of strikingly diverse materials, shapes and sizes. It was made up of beads of eight different materials: glass (44%), jet (14%), shell (10%), amber (10%), coral (7%), enamel or earthenware (5%) and rock crystal (5%).6

  • 7 I wish to thank Martha Sempowski for this information. Only two of the seven shell beads in the Lou (...)

10It is significant that seashell beads featured in both the postmortem inventories and the bead collection found on the site of the Louvre, because this invalidates the notion that this kind of bead originated in North America alone, more specifically around Long Island and the Chesapeake, a hypothesis put forward by North American archaeologists and ethnohistorians (Beauchamp 1901; Bradley 2011: 28–31; Ceci 1989: 63–80; Fenton 1998: 223–228; Hamell 1996: 41–51; Sempowski 1989: 81–96). The shell beads of the Louvre collection are similar in shape, size, color and finish as the finely-polished 4–8 mm white discoid shell beads that have been found on contact sites.7 In the Anglophone literature, these beads are known by their Algonquian name, roanoke.

11Some of these shell beads were sold in North America. France exported large quantities of beads to England and North America (Kidd 1979: 29). They were purchased for the North American trade by merchants who bought them in La Rochelle (ADCM, 3E 2149, 20 June 1565) and Bordeaux (ADG, 3E 5428, 5 February 1587). Thus, in 1599, the Parisian paternosterer Charles Chelot, a man who worked closely with several merchants who chartered ships to Canada, sold a great quantity of shell beads to Pierre Chauvin, a well-known fur trader (AN, MCN, XCIX–65, 3 November 1599). Shell beads played a major part in the French trade throughout the Colonial period. Archaeologists have found glass beads as well as other trade items in early 17th-century occupation layers of the Champlain habitation site, in Quebec City (Moussette and Niellon 1985: 146–147; Marier 1996: 216). Throughout the French Colonial period, the King’s warehouses stored large quantities of shell beads, which were more valuable than glass beads: Nathalie Hamel calculated that one shell bead was worth 1,224 glass beads between 1720 and 1760 (Hamel 1995: 10-16). Throughout the 17th century, even greater quantities of shell beads were invariably featured in the inventories of shipments destined for the trade posts on the Chesapeake Bay (Miller et al. 1983: 127–130).

French fishing and trading in 16th-century Northeastern America

12The French were the main, indeed almost the only, European group to have been actively involved in fishing and the fur trade on the northeast coast of North America in the 16th century. Despite their very early presence in this region, Portuguese explorers and fishermen left in the second half of that century, only to be gradually replaced by the English, who settled on their sites in the Avalon peninsula, on the western tip of the island of Newfoundland (Cell 1969; Abreu-Ferreira 1998). Other European groups did not start to settle on the American continent and trade with its Indigenous peoples before the early 17th century: the Dutch settled in New Netherland (now New York) in 1614 and 1624; and the English in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, and in Plymouth, New England, in 1620. Although the first permanent French colony was established around the same time in Quebec (1608), the French had already been in contact and trading with the Native Americans of northeastern North America for almost a century.

13During Jacques Cartier’s first voyage in 1534, he gifted the Mi’kmaq (formely the Micmac) he encountered on Chaleur Bay with “hatchets, knives, paternosters and other goods” (Cartier 1986 [1534–1542]: 112); a few days later, he gave the St. Lawrence Iroquoians he encountered on Gaspé Bay “knives, glass paternosters, combs and other trifles” (ibid.: 114). During his second voyage in 1535–1536, Cartier once again distributed large quantities of French goods as gifts: in Stadacona (now Quebec) he gave knives and beads to the women, as well as two swords and two large pots to their chief; on his way to Hochelaga (now Montreal) he handed out axes and knives to the men, beads and other “small items” to the women, and rings and pewter Agnus Dei to the children (ibid.: 139, 143, 149, 150, 155). During his much less well documented third voyage in 1541–1542, it seems likely that such exchanges were just as important: the partial archaeological excavation of the site where he overwintered with a group of settlers has yielded a dozen beads, including two “frit-core”, five jet, and four tubular blue glass beads known as Nueva Cadiz beads (Delmas 2016: 99–100; Fiset and Samson 2013). With the exception of the blue Nueva Cadiz beads, which were still very rare on North American sites, these different kinds of beads all featured in both the Carrousel Gardens collection and the postmortem inventories of Parisian paternosterers.

14If Cartier regularly plied his Iroquoian hosts with objects of various kinds, he also received gifts from them. When he stayed in Stadacona (Quebec) during his second voyage, he captured the village Chief, Donnacona, in order to bring him back to France. In an attempt to dissuade him, the Stadaconians offered him twenty-four belts of esnoguy, which according to Cartier were “their most precious worldly possessions, because they valued them more than gold or silver” (Cartier 1986 91534-1542]: 180). Esnoguy must have been either whole small freshwater snails or discoid beads of marine origin because there are almost no seashell tubular beads on the archaeological sites of the American Northeast during that period. These beads would only become widespread in that part of the world a century later. In any case, the practice of using shell bead belts to free prisoners and seal agreements must already have been fairly well-established among the Iroquoians, because Cartier was also offered esnoguy belts in exchange for Donnacona’s freedom on two other occasions: a second attempt was made by Stadaconian women just before his ships set sail for France, and a third by Stadaconian men during a stopover in Coudres Island, two days sail from Quebec (ibid.: 181–182).

15During the first half of the 16th century, coastal Algonquians, and even Iroquoians from the interior, traded with French and Basque fishermen in the seasonal settlements they established on the coast. Notarial deeds and judicial documents allude to the rising trade in trinkets and baubles around that time. From the 1550s, this small-scale activity started to expand, as merchants filled their ships with goods destined for the fur trade. Normans seem to have been the first to engage in this trade. From the 1560s, they loaded several ships that traveled along the coast, probably from Cape Breton Island all the way down to Chesapeake Bay and the Florida peninsula (Quinn 1979, vol. I: 217–218). Their cargo was specially intended for the Native American trade. Thus, in 1565, the Aigle de La Rochelle was loaded with white glass beads (marguerites), tubular blue beads (canon bleuz), shell beads (pourcelaine), bracelets (manilles), mirrors, small bells (clochettes), earrings, pendants, scissors, little bells (sonnettes), “all sorts” of ironware (knives, axes, allemands, hooks, bodkin and awls), haberdashery and Flemish embroidery materials “in every color” (ADCM, 3E 2149, 20 June 1565).

16Even as they continued with their coastal activities, the French also returned to the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in the 1580s. Between 1580 and 1587, notaries in Bordeaux and La Rochelle recorded the outfitting of around twenty Basque ships from Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Ciboure: these vessels were destined for “the trade with the Indians of Canada”, as some notaries explained. There is also evidence that seamen from Saint-Malo (in Britany) fitted up to twelve ships for the St. Lawrence fur trade during the same period (Turgeon 2019: 120–128). There are relatively good inventories of the objects traded by the Basques: hundreds of copper cauldrons, large numbers of axes, knives, swords and other “ironware items” and haberdashery (ADG, 3E 5424, 30 April 1586; 3E 5428, 6 February 1587). In 1584, for example, the Marie de Ciboure set sail with 1,921 knives, fifty axes and several swords, “various kinds” of haberdashery (ADG, 3E 5425, 28 April 1584), as well as hats, linens, juste-au-corps, and Scottish foreze, probably a thick woolen cloth (ADG, 3E 5427, 1 and 3 May 1586). Some of the beads purchased for the North American trade were identified by their name, including jet beads (patinotes de gayet, ADG 3E 5425, 28 April 1584), seashell beads (porcelaine, AN, MCN, XCIX–65, 3 November 1599) and turquoise glass beads (turgyns, ADG, 3E 5428, 28 February 1587).

The rise of the shell bead trade in 16th-century northeastern North America

17The Indigenous peoples of northeastern North America used seashells from as early as the late Archaic period (3,000 to 1,000 BCE) [Ceci 1989; Hamell 1983]. The shells were used whole, especially Marginella and Olivella snails, or shaped into beads. The most common shell bead shape was a round flat discoid, although tubular beads (that were in fact also somewhat disk-like) existed even if they remained very short and very rare throughout prehistory. The usually white seashell beads have generally been found in graves. Scattered on prehistoric archaeological sites, they tend to become rarer, or even disappear completely, from both Iroquoian sites in the interior and Algonquian sites on the Atlantic coast by the end of the Prehistoric period, i.e. during the late Woodland period (AD 1,000-1,500) just before the arrival of Europeans (Bradley 2011: 28–30). Lynn Ceci, the author of an exhaustive study of these sites, observes that there is no archaeological evidence that New England Algonquians made shell beads before European colonization began in the early 17th century (Ceci 1977: 19). According to James Bradley, the sites of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy during that period point to their deep localism, because these sites have yielded little evidence that they traded or were in contact with other Indigenous groups (Bradley 1987: 25; 2011: 28–30). Similarly, only twenty odd mostly freshwater shell beads have been found on the Huron sites north of Lake Ontario that Ronald Williamson has studied (Williamson 2016: 247–250). Indeed, most of the beads found on Iroquoian sites dating from that period were made from local materials: freshwater shells, animal bone, deer phalanges and mammoth teeth (Ceci 1989: 68; Kuhn and Funk 1994: 78–79; Lennox and Fitzgerald 1990: 423; Pendergast 1989: 98; Ramsden 1990: 370–371; Wray et al. 1987: 147).

  • 8 Various exotic gemstones (chalcedony, catlinite, steatite) and metals also appeared very early (Mar (...)

18The earliest exotic artifacts found on Iroquoian sites around the Great Lakes date from the 16th century, i.e. the same period as European trade goods, notably iron or copper fragments and brass or copper tubular beads.8 The characteristic artifact assemblage of the second half of the 16th century includes discoid seashell beads in association with tubular copper beads chiseled from cauldrons and cooking-pots, and more rarely iron items (points, awls, hatchets). This assemblage predates glass, enamel and frit-core beads (Bradley 1983: 30; Bradley and Childs 1991). These same materials are found on mid-16th-century Onondaga (Bradley 1987: 69), Seneca (Wray et al. 1987: 240; Kuhn and Funk 1994: 80), Mohawk (Snow 1995: 154–158), Huron (Ramsden 1990: 373) and Neutral (Lennox and Fitzgerald 1990: 429) sites.

19During the third quarter of the 16th century, seashell beads became more numerous on Native American sites, appearing alongside an increasing number and variety of exotic artifacts. Between 1560 and 1575, the grave goods of Seneca sites, whose cemeteries have been exhaustively excavated and whose collections have been well-preserved and studied at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, were composed of shell beads (15% to 20%), copperware (20%), ironware (10%) and glass beads (8% to 12%). On the Adams site, for example, the collection of exotic artifacts dating from that period includes 594 copperware/brassware (521 beads, 43 rings and spirals, 15 cones, bands and disks, 13 bracelets, one knife, one small bell), 98 glass and frit-core beads, 15 ironware items (awls, points, axes, knives and swords) and 1,712 seashell beads. A similar range of exotic goods was found in nearby sites from that period, notably the Seneca “Culbertson” site and neighboring Onondaga sites (Wray et al. 1987; Bradley 1987: 69–90). As James Bradley and Terry Childs have shown, these assemblages are characteristic of the collections of South (Susquehannock and Five Nations Iroquois) but not Northern (St. Lawrence Iroquoians, Huron, Neutral and Petun) Iroquoians. This suggests that the mid-Atlantic coast was the point of entry for these goods, i.e. the Hudson or Susquehanna Rivers as opposed to the St. Lawrence River (Bradley and Childs 1991). Indeed the strong parallels between these archaeological collections and the cargo of the Aigle de La Rochelle seems to confirm this hypothesis.

Fig. 2. Wampum necklace with zoomorphic pendants. Northeastern North America, 1660-1680. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, plant fibers, 33 x 3.2-3.8 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1881.17.1. Formerly in the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Paris.

Fig. 2. Wampum necklace with zoomorphic pendants. Northeastern North America, 1660-1680. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, plant fibers, 33 x 3.2-3.8 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1881.17.1. Formerly in the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Paris.

This necklace originally included four white shell avian pendants of a type commonly seen in the Native American jewelry of northeastern North America. It may be the “necklace for women or girls with two porcelain ear pendants” that belonged to Michel Bégon, the naval intendant at Rochefort (1688–1710) and a great collector of “curiosities” at the turn of the 17th century.

© musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, photo Valérie Torre.

20During the last quarter of the 16th century, the number of copperware and ironware items, as well as glass and shell beads, rose sharply on both Algonquian coastal sites and Iroquoian sites in the interior. These artifacts have been found in especially large numbers on the sites of the Mi’kmaq because of their direct access to these goods. Thus the grave of a young woman on the Nova Scotian site of Northport (c. 1580–1600) was lavishly furnished with copperware and ironware items, as well as around a hundred glass and frit-core beads identical to those in the Carrousel Gardens collection. The grave also contained more than 770 shell beads, including 697 discoid and 22 tubular beads (Whitehead 1993: 41–48). The Avonport Mi’kmaq grave, which dates from the same period, has a similar artifact assemblage, save for its even greater number of shell beads: 1,950 in total, most of which are discoid (ibid. 73–82). These kinds of European artifacts and seashell beads also became more common during that period on Huron and Neutral sites north and west of Lake Ontario (Lennox and Fitzgerald 1990: 427–437).

21There is every reason to believe that the mainly discoid shell beads which appeared in rising numbers on Native American sites in the 16th century were partly of French origin. Most of the assemblages on these sites are overwhelmingly composed of the same kinds of shell beads as those found in the Carrousel Gardens: i.e. small discoid beads drilled through the center and the occasional Marginella snail bead (Lenig 1999: 47–74; Lennox and Fitzgerald 1990: 433). In contrast, tubular shell beads were still very rare in both French and Native American collections. Most of the beads from that period are discoid in shape: they constitute 80% of the shell beads in the collections of the Richmond Mills and Adams Seneca archaeological sites dating from the third quarter of the 16th century (Wray et al. 1987: 138–139). Notarial deeds show that Parisian paternosterers made large quantities of these beads and sold them to Norman and Basque merchants who traded with various Native American groups. The chronology of the emergence of these beads and the rate at which they spread are similar to those of the other French artifacts found on Native American sites (Lennox and Fitzgerald 1990: 429–431). The geographic distribution of these beads also followed the French trading routes of the period: they are especially concentrated at the three access points to the interior of the continent—the St. Lawrence, Hudson and Chesapeake Rivers—and converge towards Iroquoian settlements on the Great Lakes, which were the most densely populated in northeastern North America.

  • 9 As far as I know, the Adams Seneca site (1560–1575) is the only Iroquoian site where traces of seas (...)

22James Bradley, as well as other archaeologists (Hamell 1986, 1992, 1996) and ethnohistorians (Beauchamp 1901; Fenton 1998) before him, have emphasized the specifically Native American character of the seashell trade (Bradley 1987 and 2011). He hypothesizes that Iroquoian groups may have traded seashells with other Indigenous groups when they travelled to the coast in order to trade with Europeans. Yet very few traces of seashell cutting and shaping have been found to date on their sites (Ceci 1977, 1989: 68; Kuhn and Funk 1994: 78–79; Lennox and Fitzgerald 1990: 423; Pendergast 1989: 98; Ramsden 1990: 370–371; Wray et al. 1987: 147).9

23Even if we consider that the seashell trade was instigated by Native Americans, it is nevertheless clear that it was spurred by contacts and coastal trade with Europeans, in particular the French. Moreover, Indigenous groups appropriated French awls and metal points in order to make tubular beads easier to shape into form and to increase their production. The fact that metal awls appeared on Native American sites during the third quarter of the 16th century, just as shell bead numbers suddenly increased, can foster the impression that coastal Algonquian groups, or even the Iroquoians in the interior, were already using this European tool to drill holes in the center of tubular beads and string them on leather cords. There were large numbers of awls in the cargo of French ships and on most Indigenous sites in the second half of the 16th century. The rising production of beads was key to creating the conditions for the making of wampum belts: hundreds, if not thousands, of beads were needed for these artifacts. Making these heavily beaded items would not have been possible if or while beads were scarce.

The emergence of wampum belts

24Archaeological collections show that in the second half of the 16th century, some Iroquoian groups started to gather strings of tubular beads and weave them together. A bracelet made of five woven strings of wampum was found on the Seneca Tram site, which is dated 1570–1595 (Ceci 1989: 72). The slightly later Seneca Feugle site (1595–1610) yielded a set of purple tubular beads woven in the shape of a belt or just strung together (Ceci 1989: 72; Sempowski 1989: 83, 86, 89). Wampum belts were soon in use among all Iroquoian groups, as well as some northern Algonquians (Vachon 1970: 254; Whitehead 1993: 43, 67, 77; Heidenreich 1990: 486; Kent 1984: 171–172). The tubular beads used to make these artifacts quickly replaced the discoid beads found in earlier archaeological collections (Ceci 1989: 72; Kent 1984: 171–172).

25It is possible that Champlain was speaking of wampum belts when he wrote in 1606 that New England coastal Algonquians wore “feathers, porcelain paternosters and other ornaments neatly embroidered together” (Champlain 2019 [1598-1619], vol. I: 293). That same year, Marc Lescarbot, a French lawyer spending the winter with Champlain in Port-Royal, on the Acadian coast, was probably also describing wampum belts when he mentioned these “collars, scarves and bracelets made of Vignol or Porcelain […] that are more valuable than pearls” (Lescarbot 1609: 739). Lescarbot explained how these collars were made:

The Brazilians, Floridians and Armou-chiquois [Abenaki] make carcanets and bracelets (called Boure in Brazil and Matachiaz by our people) from the bone of the large whelks we call Vignols: they cut them into a thousand pieces, which they gather and polish with a stone until very small, drilling a hole through them to make rosaries similar to what we call porcelain.
(Lescarbot 1609: 739)

26However, Lescarbot also observes that the Mi’kmaq have stopped making these artifacts now that they can get them from the French:

They don’t have any today or no longer know how to make them because they often use the Matachiaz that are brought to them from France.
(Lescarbot 1609: 739)

27Wampum belts were probably already in use among the Huron in 1611 because that same year Champlain was sent “50 castors and 4 carcanets made with their porcelains” by “other Captains who had never seen [him]” (Champlain 2019 [1598–1619], vol. I: 406). At the time, a carcanet must have been a fairly large object, because it covered the neck from the neckline to the chin (Vachon 1970: 255). Dutch sources first mentioned wampum in 1622, when a Dutch merchant returned a Native American prisoner in exchange for “140 fathoms of Zeewan, which consists of small beads they manufacture themselves and which they prize as jewels” (Jamieson 1909: 86, quoted in Bradley 2011: 33). Indeed, Zeewan was the Dutch word for seashell beads. However, the first detailed account we have was made by Gabriel Sagard, a Recollet priest who lived among the Huron between 1623 and 1624:

Their porcelains are strung in various ways, some into three to four finger wide belts made like a horse girth entirely strung with beads, and these collars are around three and a half feet long or more […]
(Sagard 1998 [1632]: 228)

28His account of the way these artifacts were made broadly echoes Lescarbot’s description (ibid.: 229-230).

29William Bradford was probably responsible for the first English-language account of wampum when he wrote in 1628 that New England Native Americans had been using these artifacts for around twenty years: i.e. they started c. 1608, which is roughly when Lescarbot wrote his own account and the first wampum belts started to appear on Seneca sites. Bradford adds that wampum has become a very valuable commodity and implies that Algonquians prize it and have learned how to make it (Bradford quoted in Bradley 2011: 34). He also observes the great change wrought by wampum on the lives of Indigenous people: “How strange it was to see the alterations it made in a few years among the Indians themselves.” (ibid.)

30Wampum belts rose sharply during the second quarter of the 17th century. Wampum beads are ubiquitous on the archaeological sites of that period. The Seneca Power House site (1630–1635) alone yielded more than 250,000 tubular beads and more than a dozen belts composed of thousands of beads each; wampum beads were also found in more than half of its graves (Ceci 1985: 10-11; Ceci 1989: 72). Dutch and English settlers fostered the production of wampum among Algonquian groups in Connecticut (Pequot and Narragansett) and Long Island (Sewanhacky, Wamponomon and Paumanake). They provided these Native Americans with the metal awls which allowed them to increase their shell bead production; the settlers then traded these beads against furs with the Iroquoian groups in the interior (Ceci 1990: 59; Peña 1990: 28; Fenton 1998: 227). It was not long before Dutch and English settlers were making these beads too: they were in such great demand among Iroquoians that they were used as currency in the fur trade. Indeed, they even had legal tender in New England: in 1637, four beads were worth one penny (Beauchamp 1901: 342). Significantly, the only Native Americans who did not use shell beads were the southern New England Algonquians who made them (Ceci 1989: 72). These beads could not acquire as much symbolical value for these groups, because they made them locally using local materials.

Wampum as a reified form of communication

31Wampum belts were first used for intercultural contacts and exchanges between Native Americans and Europeans—the French, followed by the Dutch and the English—and then between various Native American groups: first between Algonquians and Iroquoians, and then between Northern (St. Lawrence Iroquoians, Huron, Neutral, Erie and Petun) and Southern (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Cayuga) Iroquoians. These groups probably needed a new tool that would help them to adapt to the new economic and sociopolitical context created by the arrival of Europeans. The presence of Europeans on the coast and then increasingly in the interior fostered greater Native American mobility (in order to trap and trade furs with Europeans) as well as tensions between Native Americans and Europeans, and rivalries between different Indigenous groups (in particular between Northern Iroquoians allied with the French and Southern Iroquoians allied with the Dutch and then the English).

Fig. 3. Wampum belt. Huron (Huron-Wendat), Lorette (Quebec), 1678. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, glass beads, leather, porcupine quills, plant fibers, length 145 cm. Chartres, Trésor de la Cathédrale.

Fig. 3. Wampum belt. Huron (Huron-Wendat), Lorette (Quebec), 1678. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, glass beads, leather, porcupine quills, plant fibers, length 145 cm. Chartres, Trésor de la Cathédrale.

In 1678, the Lorette Huron sent this belt to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Chartres along with manuscript letters explaining its message in both Huron and French. The Latin inscription reads: VIRGINI PARITVRÆ VOTVM HVRONUM (“Huron vow to the Virgin who shall give birth”). This offering sought to reaffirm the ties between the Virgin and their community. In return, the Cathedral sent them a large silver tunic stuffed with various relics in 1680.

© Région Centre-Val de Loire, Inventaire général, Thierry Cantalupo.

32Where did the idea of making wampum belts come from? It is possible that the idea of weaving these beads into belts was inspired by the shell or glass bead belts that were fairly common in the second of half of the 16th century in France, at least if we are to believe the postmorem inventories of Parisian paternosterers. The American archaeologist James Bradley associates the emergence of wampum with the French introduction of tubular glass beads in the early 17th century. Highly sought-after by different Indigenous groups, these beads eventually became plentiful and were in wide circulation throughout northeastern North America (Bradley 2011: 32–34). According to Bradley, this spurred the production of tubular shell beads, especially since tubular glass beads were often used to make wampum belts. Writing may also have been a source of inspiration: threading the beads onto contiguous rows of strings is oddly reminiscent of the practice of stringing words together line after line. What is certain is that Native Americans did not lack the opportunity to observe the practice of writing. When the two sons of Iroquoian Chief Donnacona returned to Canada in 1535, after Cartier had taken them away to France in the winter of 1534, they must surely have had a chance to see the French write, or even to practice writing themselves. The many Indigenous groups who traded on the coast may also have glimpsed “writers” at work on French ships: for example, ship captains writing in their logbook or Jehan Le Bailleul, who was the accountant on the Aigle de La Rochelle in 1565. It is also worth mentioning that trading ships regularly brought Native Americans to France (Jarnoux 1995 and 2008). Missionaries were another source. They landed in Acadia as early as 1611 (Biard 1611–1616; Massé 1611), followed by Quebec in 1615 (Jamet, Dolbeau, Le Caron, Duplessis) and Huronia in 1623 (Sagard and Viel). Missionaries lived in the midst of Indigenous communities and wrote every day: keeping a diary was one of their duties as they had to communicate their notes to their superiors.

Fig. 4. Wampum strings. Northeastern North America, late 16th-early 17th centuries. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, plant fibers, 10 x 12 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1934.33.494 D. Long term-loan from the Versailles Public Library.

Fig. 4. Wampum strings. Northeastern North America, late 16th-early 17th centuries. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, plant fibers, 10 x 12 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1934.33.494 D. Long term-loan from the Versailles Public Library.

© musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, photo Pauline Guyon.

33Whatever it was that inspired wampum belts, it is clear that their practice was adapted to the specific needs of the Native Americans, who ended up foisting them onto French diplomats during negotiations. If Native American cultures elaborated this artifact during the period of the first contacts, it is in fact because it could be associated with the eye, memory and speech, and could efficiently express abstract social and political values. Wampum was part of a long Indigenous tradition and was already very valuable because of its exotic character: it was relatively rare, came from far away, and it took a lot of time and know-how to make it. The hardness and polished surface of wampum communicated notions of finish, brilliance, vivacity and action. Sagard speaks of the importance that Native Americans attached to hardness and brilliance. He mentions an anecdote about fur traders who tried but failed to pass ivory beads for seashell beads:

They had tried to pass ivory for porcelain, but this did not work because porcelain is much harder, whiter, and shinier than ivory, and thus easily distinguished.
(Sagard 1636: 267)

34The whiteness of wampum beads was associated with the hair of ancestors and symbolized the cognitive aspects of life: visibility, transparence, harmony and tenacity. They were a metaphor for vision. In his Dictionary of the Huron Language, Sagard observes that the Huron used the word acoinna (i.e. eye) to refer to the French beads (Sagard 1632, see “acoinna”). As metaphors for the eyes and for light, the beads had the power of activating memories and were used as mnemotechnic devices in order to consign important events to memory (Hamell 1983; Claassen 2019: 89: 89–94).

35Wampum belts were closely associated with orators and chiefs. Hardened men and good speakers were entrusted with diplomatic missions and they used wampum belts to negotiate and seal treatises. From the early 17th century, or perhaps even earlier, these belts played a central role in diplomatic meetings. Composed of hundreds, if not thousands, of shell (but also sometimes glass) beads closely woven together by women—a long and laborious task—wampum belts expressed the “speech” or “voices” of the group (Hamell 1996: 46–47; Karklins 1992: 66–69). The spokesperson would remind his listeners that he was speaking for his group, as though his entire community were speaking with one voice. Marie of the Incarnation wrote one of the earliest detailed accounts of the use of wampum, as reported to her by Jesuit missionaries who had attended a diplomatic meeting with a group of Mohawk in 1645 (Marie de l’Incarnation 1971 [1634–1671]: 254). The Ursuline nun writes that the Agnier (Mohawk) Chief Kiotsaeton came to the meeting “covered in beads”: he arrived with seventeen wampum belts comprising 30,000 shell beads, either wearing them on his person or carrying them in a bag. This crucial meeting took place in the courtyard of the fort: the governor and his delegation sat on one side, with five Iroquoian ambassadors facing them. On the other side were Algonquian groups allied to the French, with French and Huron delegates next to them. Kiotsaeton stood in the middle and began his speech with the following words: “Onontio lend me your ear, I am the mouth of my whole nation: you are listening to every Iroquoian nation when you listen to me” (Marie de l’Incarnation 1971[1634–1671]: 254). The orator did not just speak: he also mimed the meaning of the beads “gesticulating like an actor on the stage” (ibid.: 254).

36French travel writers often drew parallels between wampum belts and speech, or even writing. The Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf emphasized that “porcelain, which stands for gold and silver in this nation, is almighty” (Brébeuf 1636: 60). His contemporary Paul Lejeune, also a Jesuit missionary, said much the same in 1632 when he wrote that wampum belts are their “diamonds and pearls” (JR 1898 [1636]: 269). The military man and historian Bacqueville de la Potherie went even further, asserting that “the belt is like a spokesperson or a contract with the same virtues as one signed in front of a notary” (Bacqueville 1722, vol. III: 4).

  • 10 For a visual representation of this meeting, see Gilles Harvard’s article in this issue, Fig. 6 p. (...)

37Diplomatic ceremonies were organized around wampum belts, which expressed a demand, an intention or an action. They “contained speech” as the Iroquois Chief Otreouti (nicknamed Grangula or Grande Gueule, i.e. Big Mouth, by Lahontan) made clear during negotiations with Governor La Barre on 5 September 1684.10 This gave the belts authority and gave speech a material form (Kelsey 2014). Threatening to cut down the tree of peace with his last belt in the event of a French attack, Otreouti added: “This belt contains my speech [i.e. the words I have spoken] and the power bestowed onto me by the Five Nations” (Lahontan 1990 [1703]: 310). Such was the power of the artifact that La Barre turned back and returned to Quebec with his three hundred men.

Fig. 5. Claude-Charles Le Roy de La Potherie, also known as Bacqueville de la Potherie. Plate by Jean-Baptiste Scotin, engraver. “Porcelain Strings, Porcelain Belt”, in La Potherie, Histoire de l’Amérique septentrionale, vol. I. Rouen, 1722, p. 334. Engraving, 12.5 x 15.8 cm.

Fig. 5. Claude-Charles Le Roy de La Potherie, also known as Bacqueville de la Potherie. Plate by Jean-Baptiste Scotin, engraver. “Porcelain Strings, Porcelain Belt”, in La Potherie, Histoire de l’Amérique septentrionale, vol. I. Rouen, 1722, p. 334. Engraving, 12.5 x 15.8 cm.

La Potherie, Comptroller of the Marine and the Fortifications in Canada (1698–1701) was a key eyewitness of the Great Peace of Montreal, a peace treaty between France and thirty-nine Native American nations signed in 1701 by Louis-Hector de Callière, 14th Governor of New France. La Potherie reported on these events in an account he wrote for the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris.

Paris, BnF, département Réserve des livres rares, 8-P-340 (1)

38For the Iroquoians, the speech was the essence of political action: it was through the spoken word that they could persuade and control others, and extend the influence of their community beyond its borders. Eloquence was the ultimate form of symbolical capital: social and political reproduction depended on the dissemination of structured speeches. Rather than merely representing speeches or voices, wampum belts objectified the nation (Fenton 1985: 3–36). Indeed, it may not be a coincidence if wampum belts —as opposed to armbands, bracelets, anklets, headbands and other types of body ornamentation—lost their connection to the physical body as they became icons of the political body. The very size of wampum belts and the fact that they went around the body’s two key articulations, the neck and waist, distinguished wampum belts from other beaded artifacts.

Conclusion

39My research in French notarial archives and study of the Carrousel Gardens bead collection in Paris show that the French made seashell beads and traded them with Native Americans from as early as the mid-16th century. Throughout the second half of the 16th century, the French were actively involved in the fur trade around the St. Lawrence River, as well as all the way down the Atlantic coast to the Chesapeake River. They traded shell beads, as well as glass beads, iron- and copperware, haberdashery and clothing, and these goods were actively in circulation among the Algonquian and Iroquoian groups of northeastern North America at that time. It is very possible that Indigenous shell trading arose in parallel to or in conjunction with this European seashell trade. Indigenous traders in the interior seem to have started acquiring seashells on their trips to the coast and making tubular beads of their own, drilling holes through them with the awls they got from the French. Awls were a staple of the cargo carried by French merchant ships. The weaving of tubular beads into belts did not start on Iroquoian sites before the end of the 16th and beginning of the 17th centuries. The tubular beads used in wampum belts were still relatively scarce on Native American sites at that time. Initially, they were threaded on single lengths of string to make bracelets or necklaces, as opposed to weaving several strings together to make belts. The number of strings in the specimens that have been found is not large enough for a wampum belt. Flat round seashell beads still dominate the collections for that period: used to make necklaces, bracelets, anklets and headbands, these discoid beads were not suitable for wampum belts.

Fig. 6. Claude-Charles Le Roy de La Potherie, also known as Bacqueville de la Potherie. Plate by Jean-Baptiste Scotin, engraver. “Indigenous ‘Chief’ holding a wampum belt” [untitled], in La Potherie, Histoire de l’Amérique septentrionale, vol. IV. Rouen, 1722, p. 90. Engraving, 12.5 x 15.8 cm.

Fig. 6. Claude-Charles Le Roy de La Potherie, also known as Bacqueville de la Potherie. Plate by Jean-Baptiste Scotin, engraver. “Indigenous ‘Chief’ holding a wampum belt” [untitled], in La Potherie, Histoire de l’Amérique septentrionale, vol. IV. Rouen, 1722, p. 90. Engraving, 12.5 x 15.8 cm.

Paris, BnF, département Réserve des livres rares, 8-P-340 ( 4 )

40The early 17th-century wampum belt was the product of borrowings and adaptations, and a new communication tool in a changing sociopolitical landscape. This artifact is mentioned in practically every French travel narrative of the period and starts to appear in increasing numbers in American archaeological collections. Rather than a substitute to European beadwork made from local materials, wampum belts expressed the rise of a new intercultural dynamic in northeastern North America. Nearly a century of contacts and trade with the French, followed by the arrival of French, Dutch and English settlers in the early 17th century, produced deep demographic, economic and political upheavals among the Indigenous peoples of northeastern North America. These changes had a profound impact on their use of shell beads. Now imported from abroad, they were used more often and in greater quantities; they were also used in new ways to create new configurations, and in new settings, often highly ritualized political contexts. Indeed, it seems likely that the objectification of their value and power of communication owed more to contacts with Europeans than to any internal transformation of Native American thought and cosmology. The deep localism of late prehistoric Indigenous peoples led them to base their political economy on beads made from local materials. With the rise of trading, population movement, commercial competition and intercultural tensions, they adapted these new forms of representation to their new environment. In particular, they based their value system and political economy on the beads of the Other, since this act of incorporation was a means of self-regeneration.

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Notes

1 French sources of the Colonial Era usually tend to use the word collier (necklace) to refer to these artifacts. This is a somewhat misleading term because it conjures a string of beads worn around the neck. In fact wampum belts were made from several strings of shell beads woven together to create a compact mass that could be 1 meter long and 15 to 20 cm wide. They could also be worn on different parts of the body: around the neck or waist, or over the shoulder or forearm. During the era of New France, the French clearly struggled to agree on a name for this new artifact, because they also used words like écharpes (scarves), cordons (strings), chaînes (chains), carcans (chains/collars) and branches (branches). In contrast, the English usually used the words “belt” or “sash”. For an exhaustive list of these terms, see the Lexicon of Historic Terms in this issue.

2 It seems likely that under the pen of Parisian notaries, the word émail (i.e. enamel) referred to beads made from earthenware or soft clay, using a different manufacturing process than the vitrification process used for glass beads. I have adopted this terminology in my article for the sake of expediency.

3 According to Furetière’s dictionary of 17th-century French, an escarcelle was a large pouch that hung from the belt or shoulder.

4 These trenches were dug for sand in the second half of the 16th century, in order to build the Tuileries Palace, at a time when it was an integral part of the Louvre

complex (Van Ossel 1991: 356).

5 Trenches were dug all over that area during the excavations, and the contents of two of them were sieved using a 2.5 mm, followed by a 0.5 mm, mesh. Most of the beads and small artifacts that have been found come from these two trenches (Van Ossel 1991: 351–352).

6 The trenches included a greater proportion of enameled soft clay beads than the inventories after death. In particular, the Louvre collection contained a number of oval blue beads lined or dotted with white known as “frit-core” among Anglophone archaeologists and “perles à faïence” among francophone Canadian archaeologists. These beads appeared very early in North America, notably on Native American sites dating back to ca. 1560–1620 (Fitzgerald et al. 1995: 117–138; Karklins 2016: 60–65; Karklins and Bonneau 2018: 58–59).

7 I wish to thank Martha Sempowski for this information. Only two of the seven shell beads in the Louvre collection were found together, suggesting they date from different periods and came from different sources.

8 Various exotic gemstones (chalcedony, catlinite, steatite) and metals also appeared very early (Martha Sempowski, personal communication).

9 As far as I know, the Adams Seneca site (1560–1575) is the only Iroquoian site where traces of seashell cutting and shaping associated with bead-making have been found, together with iron awls that could have been used for drilling holes (Ceci 1989: 72).

10 For a visual representation of this meeting, see Gilles Harvard’s article in this issue, Fig. 6 p. 35. The wampum belt is at the center of and structures the space of the engraving, illustrating the key role it played. The encounter between Grangula and Governor La Barre is mediated by the two outsize artifacts that lie between the two men: the wampum belt and the ceremonial pipe.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. Beads of varied provenance. North America, 16th–17th centuries. Whelk, plant fibers, length 1.4-3 cm x diam. 0.7-1.5 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1878.32154. Formerly in the Cabinet des médailles [Coin Cabinet], Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Légende The absence of metal tools in the making of these beads indicates their age. Beads of this kind predated tubular wampum beads. They were rare and reserved to high-ranking individuals.
Crédits © musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, photo Pauline Guyon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6194/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 216k
Titre Fig. 2. Wampum necklace with zoomorphic pendants. Northeastern North America, 1660-1680. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, plant fibers, 33 x 3.2-3.8 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1881.17.1. Formerly in the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Paris.
Légende This necklace originally included four white shell avian pendants of a type commonly seen in the Native American jewelry of northeastern North America. It may be the “necklace for women or girls with two porcelain ear pendants” that belonged to Michel Bégon, the naval intendant at Rochefort (1688–1710) and a great collector of “curiosities” at the turn of the 17th century.
Crédits © musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, photo Valérie Torre.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6194/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 184k
Titre Fig. 3. Wampum belt. Huron (Huron-Wendat), Lorette (Quebec), 1678. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, glass beads, leather, porcupine quills, plant fibers, length 145 cm. Chartres, Trésor de la Cathédrale.
Légende In 1678, the Lorette Huron sent this belt to the Cathedral of Notre-Dame at Chartres along with manuscript letters explaining its message in both Huron and French. The Latin inscription reads: VIRGINI PARITVRÆ VOTVM HVRONUM (“Huron vow to the Virgin who shall give birth”). This offering sought to reaffirm the ties between the Virgin and their community. In return, the Cathedral sent them a large silver tunic stuffed with various relics in 1680.
Crédits © Région Centre-Val de Loire, Inventaire général, Thierry Cantalupo.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6194/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 444k
Titre Fig. 4. Wampum strings. Northeastern North America, late 16th-early 17th centuries. Quahog (Mercenaria mercenaria), whelk, plant fibers, 10 x 12 cm. Paris, Musée du quai Branly–Jacques Chirac, 71.1934.33.494 D. Long term-loan from the Versailles Public Library.
Crédits © musée du quai Branly-Jacques Chirac, photo Pauline Guyon.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6194/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 408k
Titre Fig. 5. Claude-Charles Le Roy de La Potherie, also known as Bacqueville de la Potherie. Plate by Jean-Baptiste Scotin, engraver. “Porcelain Strings, Porcelain Belt”, in La Potherie, Histoire de l’Amérique septentrionale, vol. I. Rouen, 1722, p. 334. Engraving, 12.5 x 15.8 cm.
Légende La Potherie, Comptroller of the Marine and the Fortifications in Canada (1698–1701) was a key eyewitness of the Great Peace of Montreal, a peace treaty between France and thirty-nine Native American nations signed in 1701 by Louis-Hector de Callière, 14th Governor of New France. La Potherie reported on these events in an account he wrote for the Royal Academy of Sciences in Paris.
Crédits Paris, BnF, département Réserve des livres rares, 8-P-340 (1)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6194/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 512k
Titre Fig. 6. Claude-Charles Le Roy de La Potherie, also known as Bacqueville de la Potherie. Plate by Jean-Baptiste Scotin, engraver. “Indigenous ‘Chief’ holding a wampum belt” [untitled], in La Potherie, Histoire de l’Amérique septentrionale, vol. IV. Rouen, 1722, p. 90. Engraving, 12.5 x 15.8 cm.
Crédits Paris, BnF, département Réserve des livres rares, 8-P-340 ( 4 )
URL http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/docannexe/image/6194/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 1,4M
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Laurier Turgeon, « Shell Beads and Belts in 16th- and Early 17th-Century France and North America  »Gradhiva, 33 | 2022, 40-59.

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Laurier Turgeon, « Shell Beads and Belts in 16th- and Early 17th-Century France and North America  »Gradhiva [En ligne], 33 | 2022, mis en ligne le 15 juin 2022, consulté le 25 juin 2022. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/gradhiva/6194 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/gradhiva.6194

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Auteur

Laurier Turgeon

Department of Historical Sciences, Laval University, Quebec.
Laurier.Turgeon[at]hst.ulaval.ca

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