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Edgar Heap of Birds, Spring 2013

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Sioux Artist



Moccasins, n.d.
Beads on leather
11 1/8 x 4 1/8 x 3 5/8 in. (28.26 x 10.48 x 9.21 cm) (right foot)

Creation Place: North America, Native American
Technique: Leatherworking and beadworking
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Edward H. Angle
Accession Number: P2072a,b
Buckskin moccasins with stiff soles and completely beaded uppers. Light blue elliptical section with American flags, a blue cross, and a multi-colored triangle. Elaborate multi-colored border.

Materials
glass beads and leather

Commentary
The American flag motif was often used to decorate traditional articles of clothing such as moccasins. Overall beading is characteristic of late 19th-century decorative work
-from the Native American Art from the Permanent Collection catalog, 1979

These ornate Lakota Sioux moccasins offer a unique combination of iconography, which includes geometric crosses, Latin style crosses, and representation of the American flag. The geometric crosses are likely related to the four sacred directions in Sioux culture, while the Latin cross and American flag would appeal to Christian missionaries and tourists. The combination of Native and non-Native iconography position these moccasins within a larger intercultural exchange. The includsion of the flag and Christian cross may relate to the way these images and objects were incorporated into Plains cultures in the later 19th cntury. The flag and the cross, symbolic of the four directions, exemplify how Native artist conveyed their own meanings through the visual vocabulary of the dominant culture.
-object commentary from Nuance of Sky: Edgar Heap of Birds Invites Spirit Objects to Join His Art Practice exhibition

Bibliography
Kay Koeninger and Joanne M. Mack, "Native American Art from the Permanent Collection" (Claremont: Galleries of the Claremont Colleges, 1979), 75, fig. 253.

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