Gun case

Gun cases make it easy to transport rifles and shotguns and to protect the weapons from the elements.

Written by Amelia Fay

May 7, 2018

Gun cases make it easy to transport rifles and shotguns and to protect the weapons from the elements. Many traditional gun cases were made from tanned hides, and some of them were elaborately decorated.

This early twentieth-century Dene case is made from smoked moose hide and combines two artistic techniques: woven quillwork and beadwork. The dyed porcupine quills were woven into geometric patterns on a loom and then wrapped around the narrower section of the case. Multicoloured glass beads in a floral design were sewn on a black velvet panel near the opening of the case, with faceted brass beads used as accents.

This gun case was obtained from an unknown source by Captain Frederick H. Mayhew when he joined a Hudson’s Bay Company brigade to travel up the Mackenzie River just before the First World War. Mayhew collected a number of artifacts on this journey, and his widow donated them to the HBC Museum Collection in the 1960s.

This article originally appeared in the June-July 2018 issue of Canada’s History magazine. 

Amelia Fay is curator of the HBC Collection at the Manitoba Museum.

Skip social share links

Related to Fur Trade