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Choctaw Beadwork

Men and women alike often wear decorative beadwork with traditional clothing. A beadwork set for women often consists of a belt, medallion, collar necklaces, earrings, ribbon lapel pins, and a handkerchief lapel pin. Designs and colors are the artist's preference. Many women also wear round combs with their Choctaw dresses. Old drawings and photographs suggest that originally these combs were made from silver or other metal. Photographs from the turn of the 20th century show Choctaw men wearing shirts and ties along with strings of multicolored beads, but this style gave way to the collar necklaces, hatbands and beaded belts worn by contemporary Choctaw men. Both men and women wear sashes, known as the most traditional accessory, featuring both beadwork and applique.
Collar necklaces are worn with traditional clothing by both women and men. This style of necklace may be fairly simple, like the one pictured about, or may be larger and more elaborate, incorporating designs such as human figures in Choctaw clothing or colorful sunburst patterns.

The round comb pictured at left resembles one photographed around 1930 in Philadelphia by Smithsonian researcher Frances Densmore. This comb was probably made between 1950 and 1960.

The sash is probably the earliest component of traditional dress still in use today, incorporating symbols that may also be seen on Eastern Woodland , Mississippian and Early Historic period pottery.