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Edgar Heap of Birds, Spring 2013

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Sioux Artist



Baby Bonnet, c. 1890
Beads on leather
6 x 4 3/8 x 5 5/8 in. (15.24 x 11.11 x 14.29 cm)

Creation Place: North America, Native American
Technique: Leatherworking and beadworking
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Edward H. Angle
Accession Number: P2085
Completely beaded buckskin baby bonnet on a cloth backing. Red, white, and green triangular designs on a blue background. Reservation era.

Materials
glass beads and leather

Commentary
In traditional Plains societies, highly decorated children's clothing produced around the turn of the 20th century appealed not only aesthetically but also reinforced generations-old concepts and philosophies. With increasing challenges to traditional lifestyles during this period, reminders of who the Plains Indians were as a people were important elements in sustaining their culture. This bonnet prominently features the eight-point Morning Star, a sacred symbol representing the promise of dawn and the continuous rebirth of life-giving daylight. In a larger context, it conveys the continuance of the tribe, making it fitting imagery for a baby bonnet.

Bibliography
Kathleen Howe, Nuance of Sky: Edgar Heap of Birds Invites Spirit Objects to Join His Art Practice (Claremont: Pomona College Museum of Art, 2013), 12 illustrated/color.

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