Antique Textile Shaker Chatelaine. Great Early Sewing Implements
  • Sweet little Shaker chatelaine, made for sale to the "outside world".  The United Society of Believers were a religious society that became known as "the Shakers" because of the trembling and shaking of the members during prayer.  The Society was founded in England, but became popularized by Mother Ann Lee who led a group of believers to America in 1774 as the result of a vision.  The Shakers believed that God had a male and a female entity and that Mother Ann was that female entity.  The first self-contained community for Shakers was established in New Lebanon, NY in 1785.  The population of Shakers grew until it reached its height in the 1840s with over 4,000 believers living in 16 self-contained communities in 8 states.  The Shakers believed that women and men were equal, which was a great draw for women in the 18th and 19th centuries.  They welcomed anyone who agreed to adhere to their beliefs, which included celibacy, open confession of sins, communal ownership of property, separation from the outside world and a strong work ethic.  Although the Shakers lived separately from the outside world, they made goods to be sold to a very willing and eager outside world.  They were prized for their well-made and simply designed furniture and household items.  This watered silk chatelaine is an example of those simply, but elegantly designed household items.  Like all chatelaines, it was meant to be worn from a lady's belt so she could have her sewing implements quickly at hand.  It includes the original light blue silk ribbon with a heart-shaped stuffed pincushion, a tiny strawberry emery, a pair of needlework scissors and a needle case in the shape of a book.  As you can see by the photos, the silk of the heart-shaped pincushion has a few tiny spots where it has shattered.  The silk of the emery has worn down to the canvas lining on one side below the hand-stitched hull of the berry.  The needle case book has a tiny bit of shattering to the silk on one side (see the photo at the bottom right).  Overall though, it is in quite good condition.  Some of these chatelaines came with a wider, longer silk ribbon that had bone rings (which allowed them to fit easily over the lady's belt instead of being tied to it).  There is no evidence that this particular chatelaine every had the rings.  The silk ribbon seems to be untouched.  Circa late 19th to early 20th century.  Shaker items are still quite hard to come by and very desirable.

    (#585)     Sold