Skip Navigation

Dancing Shoes

Arts of the Americas

These Native American objects represent just a few of the items made in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century, primarily for sale to dealers and collectors to satisfy the growing market for indigenous products. Finely coiled baskets like the example by the Maidu weaver Mary Kea’a’ala Azbill were in great demand, as were Zuni Kachina dolls. The desire for Eskimo objects such as the ivory pipe engraved with a whale-hunting scene was accelerated by the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897. To appeal to non-Native patrons, Native artists invented new designs using trade materials such as the glass beads forming the embroidered floral arrangement on the northeastern puzzle bag (so named for the way its pieces fold together to keep it closed). Other artists used traditional materials but tailored designs to non-Native aesthetics, as seen in the porcupine-quill box. The Navajo quickly adapted to the Spanish introduction of silver coins and silver mining in the seventeenth century, embellishing their traditional wrist guards with hammered silver. Some artists retained both traditional materials and designs but produced greater quantities of popular items such as the Plains owl pipe bowl made from Catlinite (red pipestone).
CULTURE Hopi Pueblo
MEDIUM Deer hide, pigments, sinew, porcupine quill, horse hair, wool
DATES late 19th century
DIMENSIONS 10 3/16 x 4 5/16 x 7 5/16 in. (25.9 x 11 x 18.6 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
ACCESSION NUMBER 05.588.7175a-b
CREDIT LINE Museum Expedition 1905, Museum Collection Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The blue color of these high top shoes indicates they may have been worn by Kachina Dancers. The red fringe was colored by dye made from alder bark or rubbed iron oxide. Calcium carbonate might have created the blue color. A band of porcupine quills covers the heels.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Hopi Pueblo. Dancing Shoes, late 19th century. Deer hide, pigments, sinew, porcupine quill, horse hair, wool, 10 3/16 x 4 5/16 x 7 5/16 in. (25.9 x 11 x 18.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Expedition 1905, Museum Collection Fund, 05.588.7175a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 05.588.7175a-b.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 05.588.7175a-b.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply. Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form (charges apply). For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress, Cornell University, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums, and Copyright Watch. For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright. If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome any additional information you might have.