A contemporary wampum belt of the 'Covenant Chain' design. Wampum belts are used by the Haudenosaunee for official and ceremonial purposes, and are highly valued. They are used to record important events, such as treaties and laws and can be retained as mnemonic aids of what was said during negotiations. They are said to have originated with Hayewatha, who decreed that wampum should be used to bring and bind peace, taking the place of blood.

This belt is a Friendship Belt and according to Iroquois tradition, represents the hope of peaceful relationships between English settlers and the Haudenosaunee. It is made a woven panel of opaque glass beads, with ten rows of white wampum beads signifying peace, with a pattern in purple beads depicting an Indian (with a dark body) and a European, joined by a single row of beads.

This belt was commissioned for display in the Atlantic Gallery in 2007. The maker, Ken Maracle belongs to the Cayuga Nation, Iroquois Confederacy, Deer Clan.

Object Details

ID: ZBA4462
Collection: World Cultures
Type: Belt
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Maracle, Ken
Date made: 2007
Exhibition: War and Conflict; The Atlantic: Slavery, Trade, Empire
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: Overall: 95 mm x 530 mm

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