Tuesday, November 23, 2010

National Museum of the American Indian, NYC

One of John and my favourite museums in New York City is the National Museum  of the American Indian based in the Old US Customs House at Bowling Green. There are always selections from their permanent collection on view like these Plains Indian bone playing cards.
But the larger part of any visit is to the changing displays of Contemporary Art (we saw a fabulous show of Annie Pootoogook's drawings last visit) and themed exhibitions from their permanent collection. The stunning exhibit this time was A Song for the Horse Nation featuring objects related to the relationship of the Plains Indians to the horse. This exhibition is on until July 7, 2011.
Here is a Lakota beaded hide coat, ca. 1890. of cut beads, metal buttons, cotton cloth, hide, and sinew inspired by a White calvary military jacket.
The details of the jacket are gorgeous.
Here we see a Siha Sapa (Black Foot) Lakota cloth dress, ca. 1890. South Dakota, made of muslin, denim, wool cloth, pigment and cotton thread. A dress like this would have been worn by the wife or sister of a great warrior.
All the decorative drawings are incredible like these captured horses.
Again, who can resist this Cheyenne River Lakota shield cover, ca. 1880s, South Dakota, combining pigment, hide and rawhide? What a classy parade item!
We also loved this Tsitsistas/So'taeo'o (Cheyenne) shirt, ca. 1865. Montana, incorporating porcupine quills, pony beads, hair locks, horsehair, pigment, hide and sinew. This is a detail of the shirt which would have been worn only by esteemed warriors, spiritual leaders, and diplomats.
Or how about this Chaticksi (Pawnee) coat belonging to Love Wolf, ca. 1910. Oklahoma. It's made of hair locks, sweetgrass, seed beads, feathers, horn, porcupine quills, pigment, wool cloth, cotton cloth, hide and sinew. We love the beaded name plate.
We'll finish with this detail of a Central Plains (possibly Oto or Potawatomi) beaded cloth coat, ca. 1895 (detail). Oklahoma, made of silver coins, seed beads, wool cloth, ribbon and thread. We hope we've tempted you to visit this awe-inspiring museum on your next visit to New York.

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