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Carved Dance Mirror

Arts of the Americas

MEDIUM Wood, pigment, glass
DATES early 19th century
DIMENSIONS 32 x 3 3/8 in. (81.3 x 8.6 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS "Sioux Chief's Looking Glass"
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund
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CAPTION Sioux (Native American). Carved Dance Mirror, early 19th century. Wood, pigment, glass, 32 x 3 3/8 in. (81.3 x 8.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.96. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 50.67.96.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Two trade mirrors, one slightly larger than the other, are set into one side of a soft red wood paddle shaped frame. The top portion has a cutout opening shaped as a ball with a pointed top. Below the mirrors is another opening carved into the shape of a pointed ovoid. The wood on this side of the frame is chip carved and incised with lines rubbed with red and black, many of which look like elongated leaves. Below the mirrors are two triangular shapes with two extensions on each one, resembling the heads of horned animals. On the reverse side of the frame, a creature is incised. Clearly a quadruped with a heart line, its horns are placed at the juncture of its head and neck, and its tail transforms into a thunderbird. Below this is an irregular rectangle in double outlines of red and green with a petal shaped form at each corner. At the center of this shape is a red complex form made of two chevron shapes joined at their central points. On this side of the object, the pointed ovoid opening is outlined in red and green incised lines with red foliate form at one end and another small pointed oval at the other. Below this is a simple form in red line that mimics the shape of the end of the stick-like leaf forms within.
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Carved Dance Mirror