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American Indian Beadwork: Early 20th Century Plateau Pictorial Works

American Indian Beadwork

Plateau Pictorial Beaded Hide Bag, c. early 20th century, to be auctioned May 12, 2012 (Lot 102A, Est. $500-700)

Many Plateau tribes made flat beaded handbags, vests, and other items in the last quarter of the 19th century. The earliest known examples show horse imagery and floral designs as well as other subjects from the natural world. These designs were generally arranged in a simple fashion on light backgrounds.

By the turn of the 20th century, pictorial beadwork had become very popular, both for the Indians’ own use, and also to meet the demand of the ever increasing tourism market. Today, these items are collected both as Indian art and folk art.

The hide handbag shown here comes from the early 20th century and depicts a mounted warrior, probably a Nez Perce, who is wearing traditional period clothing including an eagle feather headdress, loop necklace, panel belt, and cloth leggings.

The Lakota were also famous for their pictorial beadwork from the early reservation period into the first quarter of the 20th century.

This example will be offered on May 12th during our American Indian & Ethnographic Art auction alongside a fine selection of Plains Indian beadwork, a pictographic muslin, and several fine weapons.

View the catalogue here.

2 thoughts on “American Indian Beadwork: Early 20th Century Plateau Pictorial Works

  1. We have an old powderhorn inscribed with a crude map of the area around Sandwich, N.H. and do not know of its authenticity.

    Can you help with this?

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