The Plains Indian Museum is loaning three unique and significant examples from our collections to a new exhibition on the art of Plains Native people – The Plains Indians. This exhibition will originate in Paris at the Musée du quai Branly and travel to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Included in this loan is a shirt once worn by the nineteenth-century Oglala Lakota leader Red Cloud. The shirt is an outstanding example of Plains Native art that symbolizes Red Cloud’s accomplishments, responsibilities, and role as a leader of his people.
The elaborate embellishment of the shirt includes two hundred and thirty-eight locks of human hair and sixty-eight locks of horse hair all wrapped in porcupine quills and attached with thongs decorated with large faceted beads. The shirt is also painted in blue and yellow pigments and decorated with beadwork strips on the sleeves and shoulders.
We are also loaning a Lakota Sioux jacket created and worn in the early twentieth century. The jacket of Euro-American cut is decorated front and back with beaded images of men wearing eagle feather bonnets and horses of many colors. It is trimmed with strips of geometric beadwork.
When the exhibition travels to Kansas City and New York, it will also include a Lakota Sioux eagle feather bonnet with a magnificent long double trailer. Dignified and accomplished men wore such dramatic bonnets as they rode their horses in Fourth of July and other parades and processions of the early twentieth century.
The Plains Indians will be at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris during April 9, 2014 – July 20, 2014. It will then travel to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City from September 19, 2014 – January 22, 2015, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York during March 3, 2015 – May 17, 2015.
Plains Indian Museum Advisory Board member Arthur Amiotte and Senior Curator (now Curator Emerita and Senior Scholar) Emma I. Hansen each contributed essays to the accompanying exhibition catalogue, which is published in both French and English.