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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Blackfeet beaded and fringed hide men's wearing shirt

North America, Plains, USA, Northern Plains, Siksika (Blackfeet)

Beaded and fringed hide man's wearing shirt
About 1880
Native tanned hide, glass beads, porcupine quills, human hair, wool cloth, cotton cloth, ermine, downy feathers, paint, dye
Purchased through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W '18 Fund; 2009.14

This acquisition is a Blackfeet beaded and fringed hide man’s wearing shirt from about 1875-85. Made of mountain sheep hide, this formal shirt has rare triangular elements made of glass trade beads and decorative pendants on its bottom corners which are the hind legs of the animals used to make the shirt. It is trimmed with whole ermine (including skulls) and human hair, which was almost certainly obtained from the head of an enemy. Made by a woman, this garment would have been worn by a man highly regarded in his community; only Plains men who had achieved honor earned the right to wear such a highly decorated shirt. With its colorful beadwork, classic construction, and interesting appendages, this is a visually stunning example of the Plains man’s formal shirt.

Last Updated: 4/22/10