Gratz Family Collection
Wampum

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Record 5/11
Copyright Congregation Mikveh Isreal
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Collection Gratz Family Collection
Description Part of a set of two multi-color necklaces with shell and wampum bead construction. First necklace is 34" long and the beads are cylindrical, alternatively colored white and purple/gray.
Dimensions L-34 inches
Material Beads
Object Name Wampum
Provenance Wampum are traditional sacred shell beads of the Eastern Woodlands tribes of the indigenous people of North America. Wampum is used to mark exchanges for engagement, marriage, and betrothal agreements, as well as for ceremony and condolence ceremonies. When Europeans came to the Americas, they realized the importance of wampum to Native people. While the Native people did not use it as money, the New England colonies used it as a medium of exchange. Soon, they were trading with the native peoples of New England and New York using wampum.

Michael and Barnard Gratz engaged in trade with the Indians in the Ohio country trading furs and Native products, and in turn supplying the United States government with Indian goods. It is likely the wampum was acquired during these dealings.
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Last modified on: April 19, 2012