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Strap Dress with Red and Green Embroidery

Arts of the Americas

MEDIUM Emulsion cured buckskin, dyed porcupine quills, glass beads, tin and copper tinklers, thread, sinew and pigment
DATES early 19th century
DIMENSIONS 46 x 21 in. (116.8 x 53.3 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Henry L. Batterman Fund and Frank Sherman Benson Fund
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CAPTION Probably Yanktonai, Nakota, Sioux (Native American). Strap Dress with Red and Green Embroidery, early 19th century. Emulsion cured buckskin, dyed porcupine quills, glass beads, tin and copper tinklers, thread, sinew and pigment, 46 x 21 in. (116.8 x 53.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.2. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 50.67.2_SL1.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.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION This dress is composed of four sections of very white and pliable skin, probably employing at least two deer or caribou hides. Two large pieces of skin were sewn together to form the front and back of the dress and the upper edge of the skin is turned down as a long graceful flap to the waist. Two smaller pieces of skin are added to serve as shoulder straps. The entire dress, including the quillwork, is sewn together with thread. The seams that join the two major sections are fringed. Fringe near the shoulder is clipped very short so that it appears "pinked" and the fringe at the bottom of the dress is wrapped with orange and blue porcupine quills. The decoration of the shoulder straps is somewhat unusual as it differs from front to back. Scallops terminate the straps on the dress' front' while fringes decorate the shorter ends of the straps at the back. The straps are also decorated with a row of tiny black beads that edge the sides of these straps and surround the three scalloped lobes on each. Pairs of black beads in a double row decorate the section of the strap that intersects with the low neck line. Each scalloped portion of the straps is also ornamented, right and left, with bows made of hide strips wrapped at intervals with orange and light blue quills. Similar string-like ornaments are also attached at the proper right side of the front flap and the proper left side on the black flap. Quillwork strips across the body of the dress are in green, black, brown, white, reddish orange and light blue. Black seed beads and blue pony beads are applied as a scalloped border on an added piece of skin near the hem of the dress and tin cones are suspended in pairs from the apex of each of these beaded curves by thin hide strands wrapped at intervals with orange quills. See Jarvis report in Arts of Americas files.
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Strap Dress with Red and Green Embroidery