Seminole Man's Jacket
Seminole Man's Jacket
Region / Tribe: Florida / Seminole
Material: Machine and hand stitched with cotton cloth and thread, shell buttons
Dimension: Back Length from collar to hem 29”, Front length from collar to hem 19”,
width 66” (cuff to cuff), Waist 50”
Condition: Excellent. no restoration. Minor soiling along the front button panels
References: Peithmann, Irving M., The Unconquered Seminole Indians, Great Outdoors Publishing Company, St. Petersburg, Florida, 1957.
Downes, Dorothy, Art of the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee Indians, University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Florida,1995.
Reeves V, I.S.K., The Seminole: Art of the Seminole: 1820-1950, The Maitland Art Center, Maitland, Florida, 2009.
Comments: This is a beautifully conceived jacket. The dominance of vivid contrasting colors of horizontal bands juxtaposed with one repeating appliqué design creates a visually exciting, vibrant example. The absence of rick-rack and the use of only one appliqué design suggest a relatively early dating for a jacket, possibly at a transition from big shirts.
The solid color bands are machine stitched while the appliqué zig-zag design panels are hand stitched.
The tailoring of the torso of this shirt is noteworthy. The body is purposefully voluminous. The puckered panels at the front and back of the shoulders aids in the voluminous expansion of the mid-body. The back measurement from collar to hem is 29 inches. The front measurement from collar to hem is 19 inches. This dramatic variation creates two interesting effects. The back hemline extends downward below the wearer’s waist line while the front is positioned higher. There must have been either a stylistic or comfort preference to account for this. A second consequence of this tailoring variation causes the horizontal bands on the front to sweep upward in curves toward the middle of the shirt. This dramatic curved effect is seen on a shirt worn by Seminole elder, Sam Huff, while attending the annual Green corn dance near Okeechobee (See Peithmann, p.68). These distinct tailored designs on the current example contribute to the dynamic visual effect of this striking garment.