vintage cradle avaFor most cultures, children are the most treasured members of the community and, at the same time, they’re most vulnerable. So, people have always looked for ways to protect their babies, not only physically but also using various amulets, protection symbols, and so on. Such symbols can be found on baby clothes, toys, and, of course, on cradles. Here you are a number of baby cribs from several different cultures and different periods (from the 16th to early 20th century). Compare them and see for yourself how much people cared for their kids to create such beautiful and unique baby cradles.


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Native American (Ute) cradleboard, about 1890

This beautiful ornate baby crib is of the Native American Ute tribe. It is a girl’s cradle (which can be determined by the color). The backboard is wooden and covered with leather. It is decorated with beadwork. The baby was put into a leather sack, also adorned with beading, fringe, and other decorations. There is a hood that protects the baby’s head – it is woven from thin wooden rods and the edge is trimmed with soft fabric.

From The Met Museum

Cradle1 1

Cradle1 2



German cradle, 1650-1680

This baby crib is very ornate and sophisticated. It is created from wood and has a lot of decorative elements – carving, panels, handles, etc. The cradle looks sturdy and delicate at the same time.

From The Met Museum

Cradle4 1



Ukrainian cradle, the early 20th century

This crib is comparatively modern but the same design was used for centuries in Ukraine. It is woven from willow branches and was suspended from the ceiling (usually, from the main beam) on ropes. The cradle was filled with straw and covered inside with embroidered ceremonial towels adorned with special protective symbols.

From Viktor Yushchenko Museum of Ukrainian heritage; private museum in Ukraine





Native American (Kiowa) cradleboard, about 1875

This lovely cradleboard is the Native American Kiowa tribe’s heritage. The crib is embellished with traditional Kiowa beading created by women and wooden frame with brass decorations created by men. Such a cradle was carried on the mother’s back, attached to the saddle when the mother rode on horseback, or was hung from a tipi, so the baby in its crib wasn’t laying on the ground where there are plenty of dangers.

From The Met Museum

Cradle2 1

Cradle2 2

Cradle2 3



American cradle, 1640-1690

This sturdy baby crib was used by the first American settlers. It is wooden, durable, and well-balanced, with cute handles. It was probably originally fitted with a mattress of feathers or chopped wool.

From The Met Museum

Cradle3 1

Cradle3 2



Italian (Florence) cradle, the 16th-17th century

This baby cradle with intricate carving is made from wood. It is adorned with nice carved patterns on the sides. The headboard has religious symbols on it – sure thing, Italy is a rather religious country. This crib doesn’t rock, it stands sturdy.

From The Met Museum

Cradle5 1



Native American (Mohawk) cradleboard, around 1860

This baby cradleboard is wooden and very decorative. It is from Canada, Quebec. The backside of the board (visible when a baby was carried) is embellished with skillful carving and painted in different colors. The side where a baby was laid is plain. The decorative handle is attached to the board with a rope.

From The Met Museum

Cradle6 1

Cradle6 2



Ukrainian cradle, the beginning of the 20th century

This simple but practical baby crib was woven from willow branches and was suspended from the ceiling. It was used only for a few first months when a baby didn’t turn and move yet because later, it could fall out of the crib. The cradle was usually filled with straw and covered with embroidered towels.

From The Museum of history of Bohuslav region, Ukraine




American cradle, 1840-1847

This lovely baby crib was made by D. Phyfe & Son. It is created from mahogany veneer and mahogany wood. It stands on 4 sturdy legs, the sides are look-through and can be lowered if need be.

From The Met Museum

Cradle7 1


Read also:

Embroidered shirt in Ukraine used to be the only garment for kids until 12 years old

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