Coe Multimedia Accessory Collection at The Met

Detail of Possible bag (1900) from the Coe Collection at The Met

McQueen and the Paris runways have nothing over the 18th and 19th-century Native Americans who knew how to mix unusual materials and meanings into symbolic, functional, innovative, and salable accessories. A collector with an eye for the interesting is honored in the Met’s Michael C. Rockefeller wing in the micro-show, The Coe Collection of American Indian Art.

Ted Coe of Santa Fe was inspired to collect both ancient and contemporary works by Native Americans that caught his attention, amassing thousands of pieces that he bequeathed to the Met. He mounted a truly innovative show at AMNH in 1986, which linked old and new traditions in Native American art making, Lost and Found Traditions: Native American Art 1965-1985. The Met’s curators decided to honor his work by selecting forty objects.

Detail of Arikara Leadership shirt (1860) from Coe collection at The Met

The show isn’t all about wearable art, but we decided to focus on a few details that you might find of interest. We’ve organized the Flickr feed to document some of the oldest to the newest creations on display, ranging from mid-Mississippian carved stone tools from 4,000 B.C. to the cheeky dough bowl (1994) made by Chochiti potter Diego Ramirez.

In between, you’ll see an array of sophisticated and rough creations made by artists from the 1700s to early 1900s for Native American leaders, nomads, and tourists – all designed, embellished, and crafted in a variety of materials. Who knew that nuns taught Canadian tribal artists to embroider with moose hair? Enjoy the details.

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