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Plains Culture

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Crow Artist



Gun Sheath, c. 1860-1869
Leather and beads
5 1/8 in. x 40 15/16 in. (13 cm x 104 cm)

Creation Place: North America, Native American
Technique: Leatherworking and beadworking
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert Brink
Accession Number: P0386
Elongated rectangular sheath of buckskin. "Witch charm" of triangular blue and red felt. Long fringe at bottom. Narrow strip of red wool beaded in white at top. Beadwork band of yellow, red, dark blue tipi pattern on light blue background at top and bottom. "Used by Chief Spotted Tail."

Materials
glass beads and leather

Commentary
R. Conn notes "An important piece, due to age and use. Needs conservation."

Two of the distinguishing marks of Crow beadwork are the use of the "hourglass" pattern, and the presence of a light blue ground. In this example, the beadwork is sewn in lazy wtitch. Long fringe enlivened the appearance of the gun case while the gun was being held or was in motion (Maurer, 1977, p. 180). The introduction of guns and hourses changed subsistence patterns among native Americans allowing agricultural and semi-nomadic peoples on the edge of the Plains to become nomadic hunters during the 17th and 18th centuries.
-from the Native American Art from the Permanent Collection Catalog, 1976

Bibliography
Kay Koeninger and Joanne M. Mack, "Native American Art from the Permanent Collection" (Claremont: Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, 1979), 25 (illustrated/bw) fig. 31.

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