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Edgar Heap of Birds, Spring 2013

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Native American Artist



Breast Ornament, n.d.
Beads
8 5/16 x 7 7/8 in. (21.11 x 20 cm)

Creation Place: North America, Native American
Technique: Beadworking
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Edward H. Angle
Accession Number: P2226
Completely beaded rectangle with no backing. White, blue, red and black geometric designs. Three beaded loops at one end. Strip of black, blue, and white triangles with a red border was once attached to the ornament. The strip is 53 cm long.

Materials
glass beads without backing

Bibliography
Photographed by R.K. Liu for "The Bead Journal," 11/15/76.

Technique
"Single bead netting very similar to Peyote stitch, except done with several threads. On the long portion these were attached to the side with the loop over a heavy fiber foundation and on the square piece at the plain end. The other side of the long piece was finished with 2 rows of extra beads on both sides, making it thicker than the main body of the piece. This is also true of the loop-side of the larger rectangular piece (on which they used only 1 row of this double work.)"

Attribution
See R. Conn report (1978).

Commentary
This breast ornament incorporates the larger, irregular beads, which were the first type traded to Native Americans in the early 19th century. Such beads were carried in packs on horses to remote regions, earning them the name "pony beads." The colors--blue, read, white and black--were sacred within Native traditions, frequently used in quillwork and easily adapted to traditional designs. Later traders brought smaller, more regular beads, in a greater range of colors. These "seed" beads became the dominant form used in beadwork.

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Exhibition List
This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Dimensions
  • Overall Dimensions: 8 5/16 x 7 7/8 in. (21.11 x 20 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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