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The Microscopic World

Animal

Case Zoomify

The skin of local animals has always provided people with warm, durable and comfortable coverings. But people make clothing from other local materials, too. In the tropics, the bark of trees is widely used and, on the steppes or prairies, grass and reeds are common materials.

About the Object

Object name: Case
Place made: Ireland
Date made: 1800 – 1840
Dimensions: 16.5 x 6.3 x 3 cm
Materials & Techniques: Leather and silk, velvet woven, sewn and glued
Credit line: Gift of Sheila A. Amys
ID: T00.11.11a

This scissors case was inherited by its donor from the sewing basket of her aunt, who in turn inherited it from her mother. The case, fashioned in the shape of a hand and holding small pairs of scissors, travelled with Elizabeth Amys (née Lipsett) from Ireland to Canada in the 1840s.

Alternative Views

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Open

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Side

Side

Back

Back

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Second Look

Macro

Macro

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Touchpoint View

Animation

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Artifact Narrative

Scissors

Tools for cutting cloth have existed in Europe since Roman times and used across all levels of society. As embroidery and cutwork became finer in the 17th and 18th centuries, the tools to make them became more delicate and began to feature intricate designs on their handles. A specialized form of etui, or small ornamental bag for carrying accessories, would customarily hold these valued tools. Scissors, while portable, need to be sheathed to protect their sharp edges. In European culture, a gift of scissors or knives must also be sheathed since it is believed to cut friendship or cause bad luck.

Scissors

Scissors

Place made: Europe or North America
Date made: 1900 - 1929
Dimensions: (b) 9 x 3.5 cm (d) 14 x 4.5 cm
Materials & Techniques: Metal, cast
Credits: Gift of the Volunteer Committee of the Textile Museum of Canada
ID: T2005.11.1b&d

Scissors

Scissors

ID: T00.11.11a

Image

Domestic Sewing

Sewing and needlework have played important roles in women’s lives throughout history. In Western culture, from the Renaissance onward, hand embroidery was associated with femininity, as it was performed more by women at home than by professional (usually male) embroiderers. The Victorian ideal of feminine behavior – the “angel in the house,” so to speak – was often a picture of a woman quietly and calmly plying her needle in a piece of textile work, both utilitarian and frivolous.

VIEW-11048 Girl sewing, painting by K. Pietors ?, copied for E. B. Greenshields 1911

Domestic Sewing

Image title: VIEW-11048 Girl sewing, painting by K. Pietors ?, copied for E. B. Greenshields 1911
Credit: Image Courtesy of the McCord Museum

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Video

Animal skins

In the Hezhe village in northeastern China, people make clothing from the skins of Amur salmon. Watch an expert fashion clothing from salmon skin.

Credit: Video produced by the Ethnic Costume Museum of Beijing University of Fashion Technology

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Transcript

After the fishskin is peeled off, the unwanted fat should be removed.
Then it should be air-dried by being stuck onto the earth walls of the house.
However, it should not be exposed to the sun.

In the process of skin tanning, one person sits in front of the cutter to turn the skin over and over again while the other one is operating the cutter.

A day's work can make the fiber of the skin fluffy and the skin becomes soft by and large.

The crucial procedure of making fishskin clothes is to piece the skins together for not only the decorative patterns and smoothness of the skin but also the design and size of the clothes have to be taken into account.

After the skins are sewn together the seams should be made smooth.
Scissors are then the most convenient tools.

Cut the neck line here, and then cut the slanting front here. Now a fishskin garment of age-old style has taken its shape.

A typical traditional decorative pattern is the cloud which used to be made of coloured deerskin. Now, the skins of pikes and huaitou fish are used instead. And the pattern has been simplified to an S shape which is called Yunziwen in Chinese.

When the decorative pattern is inlayed, it first should be stuck to the garment and then sewn up carefully.

Whose skins are these? This is the skin of the huaitou fish and this is the big heads'. This one has been kept for ages so it turns red.
For ages. The red one is beautiful. How beautiful.

To the Northwest, there is a nation where people wear fishskin clothes. This is a description of the ancient Hezhe people's living.

Collection Connections

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Needle booklet

Needle booklet

ID*: T02.34.1

Needle package

Needle package

ID*: T00.11.5

Rug scissors

Rug scissors

ID*: T84.0034d