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Shirt

Arts of the Americas

This shirt demonstrates important artistic innovations on the Plains during the first half of the nineteenth century, when newly established military forts became centers for trade. The square bib is made from European trade materials: wool Stroud cloth from Stroud, England, small seed beads, and larger pony beads from Vienna. The more customary rosette in the center of the chest is formed by porcupine quills and maidenhair-fern stems and probably represents a thunderbird, a powerful spiritual symbol. The shirt is one of many objects collected by Dr. Nathan Sturges Jarvis while he served as a medical doctor in Fort Snelling, Minnesota, between 1830 and 1833.
MEDIUM Buckskin, Stroud cloth, pony beads, seed beads, yarn, porcupine quills, maidenhair fern stems, bird quills, pigment
DATES early 19th century
DIMENSIONS 42in. (106.7cm)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 50.67.8
CREDIT LINE Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Sioux (Native American). Shirt, early 19th century. Buckskin, Stroud cloth, pony beads, seed beads, yarn, porcupine quills, maidenhair fern stems, bird quills, pigment, 42in. (106.7cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.8. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 50.67.8_front_SL4.jpg)
IMAGE front, 50.67.8_front_SL4.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
"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 white buckskin shirt, with the faint remnants of a pinkish stain in the general shoulder area, has a squared cloth bib and cuffs made of red Stroud cloth. This bib has been attached with knotted lengths of buckskin thong. Both bib and cuffs are decorated with white seed beads and additional pony beads are sewn onto the bib. A line of chain stitch embroidery in blue decorates the bib at the front while the back of the bib is plain. A rosette on the front center of the shirt is decorated with reddish-orange and white porcupine quills and brown maidenhair fern stems that are in a configuration that probably represent a thunderbird. Bird quills in white, green, and brown are wrapped around the rawhide strips that are suspended from each shoulder. Additional fringe is inserted in each sleeve seam, which is wrapped at the base with red bird quills and white porcupine quills. Four long, pierced strips, two suspended under each sleeve, are also fringed. Horizontal reddish stripes are painted on the back of the shirt. A rectangular shaped repair, which appears to be of native origin, located on the front of the proper right shoulder, has been reattached to the long pierced tab by a knotted string of hide that matches the existing fringe. See Jarvis research file in Arts of Americas office.
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Sioux (Native American). <em>Shirt</em>, early 19th century. Buckskin, Stroud cloth, pony beads, seed beads, yarn, porcupine quills, maidenhair fern stems, bird quills, pigment, 42in. (106.7cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.8. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 50.67.8_front_SL4.jpg)