Purse with fabric woven by Mali Agat, ca. 1785

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


The fabric of this purse was made by Mali Agat, also called Molly Ockett (circa 1740-1816). Agat created the fabric by twining porcupine quill, wool, and hemp, which was then woven with intricate geometric patterns.

In addition to her artistry, Agat was known as a Wabanaki “doctress.” Her Pigwacket Homelands ranged from modern day Bethel to Quebec. Agat learned English and traveled widely among Native people and European settlers in northern New England and southern Quebec, selling her goods and offering her medical knowledge.

Around 1785, Mali Agat provided the fabric for this purse to Eli Twitchell of Bethel, who reportedly added the silver clasp in 1788. Twitchell's daughter Lucia (Twitchell) Kimball donated the purse to Maine Historical Society in 1863.

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About This Item

  • Title: Purse with fabric woven by Mali Agat, ca. 1785
  • Creation Date: circa 1785
  • Subject Date: circa 1785
  • Location: Bethel, Oxford County, ME
  • Media: Porcupine quills, hemp, wool, silver
  • Dimensions: 12 cm x 16 cm
  • Local Code: 610*
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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