The Double Curve Motif
By Vera Longtoe
Traditional designs used to create Wabanaki clothing were not strictly
ornamental. Quite to the contrary, the wearer carefully chose the designs and
materials to be used. Each item had a symbolic and powerful meaning, which
would help aid and protect the owner. Prominent among these patterns of power
was the double curve.
Rand’s Micmac-English Dictionary defines the double curve as, “Aboodalooak – a
curved ornamental figure like two crescents placed back to back. A very common
form of ornamentation in carving, dyeing and beadwork.” Rand futher translates
Aboodalooak as, “It is carved with curious curves or flowers called
Aboodalooakgal… Hence there seems to be a common connection between the
double curve and a vegetation motif.”
According to Frank Speck, curves represented plants associated with, “protective
and curative properties of medicinal herbs,” which was very important to Indians.
The exact symbolic meaning of certain double curve designs no longer known.
However, they have several general meanings. The mirror image of the double
curve, reminds us to keep balance in our lives. Clusters of curves together or
side by side can symbolize community, alliance and the special unions of
marriage and family. When coil flourishes are added, it is a reminder of
springtime, when plant shoots are just starting to open..
Sometimes flourishes are added to enhance double curves. Bailey describes
“…the former consisting of the three lobed figure, the blossom, bud, leaf and
tendril…” There is also a pedestal figure which seems to be a mark of identity.
Double curves spread by means of trade and affiliation to many Algonquin and
Iroquois tribes, who adopted and modified these designs in their craft work
However Double Curves are believed to have started among the Algonquin group
collectively known as the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes the Abenaki, Mi’
kmaq, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy and Malecite.
|Beadwork - Double Curves
beaded onto black wool
More Pictures Coming Soon
|© 2006 Elnu Abenaki Tribe