Ethnology Collection - Porcupine Quill-Work Chair Back and Seat Panels

Quilling Perfection

Quill-work furniture became very popular in the 1800s. Each of these chair panels was made by stitching together two pieces of birch bark with spruce root. One side was then decorated with a mosaic of white, red, black, orange, blue, lavender and pink aniline-dyed porcupine quills. The eight-pointed star you see on both panels is a common motif on 19th-century quillwork and continues to be popular in contemporary Mi’kmaw designs. Visually stunning and technically flawless, these are among the finest examples of quill work found anywhere.

Object type: 
Quill Decorated Chair Panels
Object #: 
1958.37 A,B
Collection name: 
Date (age/made): 
19th Century
Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia
: Porcupine Quill, Birch Bark, Spruce Roots and Aniline Dye.