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Arapaho Artist

Ceremonial Belt, n.d.
Quills (spines) on leather
x 29 1/8 in. ( x 74 cm)

Creation Place: North America, Native American
Technique: Leatherworking
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Edward H. Angle
Accession Number: P2034
Narrow rectangle of yellow dyed buckskin, decorated with two scalp locks, quilled thongs with cut hoof danglers, and simple linear quilling.

porcupine quills, leather and dye

Kay Koeninger and Joanne M. Mack, "Native American Art from the Permanent Collection" (Claremont: Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, 1979), 48 (illustrated/bw) fig. 137.
See Kroeber paper on the Arapaho.
See George Dorsey papers from the Field Museum of Natural History.

There were numerous societies for the ceremonial performance of dance and music among the Araphaho and other Plains peoples. Men advanced through the different levels of a dance society as tehy aged. The stage with the oldest members was considered to be the most sacred. There was only one women's dance society, and its members were usually young women, although there was no restriction placed on age. The dance performed by this society was a four-day event, with the older women acting as leaders. The dance movements, which included whistle-blowing, imitated the hunt and behavior of the buffalo.

This belt was worn during the woman's dance. The belts of the principal dancers were painted white representing the buffalo bull, while the yellow pigmentation represents the buffalo cow. The quilled hoop at one end may be symbolic of the four difections. During the motion of dancing, the hoof ornaments functioned as a rattle.

-from the Native American Art from the Permanent Collection catalog, 1979

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