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Buffalo robe


Length: 220.000 cm

Gift of Henry Christy

AOA 917

Room 26: North America

    Buffalo robe

    Blackfoot, before AD 1868
    From North America (Canada or the USA)

    A record of war exploits

    A Blackfoot artist has depicted eight or more war exploits on this robe. The owner is certainly shown eight times, each with an eagle feather war bonnet and yellow shirt. In the middle and on the left he is portrayed with a calumet, indicating leadership in a war party. Though the artist is not known, the claw-like necklace does suggest a bear or eagle connection with his name.

    Four depictions of enlarged red scalps are shown with paths connecting the owner to the dead, scalped enemy.

    On the middle right is a shield, painted red with green stars, representing the personal medicine of the owner.

    On the left-hand side the warrior is depicted capturing a woman, dressed in green, and above them he is shown sheltering behind his horse, wounded in the leg, and firing arrows.

    The decoration of war robes and other types of shirt use a number of elements to convey the event: personal medicine, symbolism, the use of synonyms (here the use of claws suggests that the owner might have had a name such as White Eagle, or Lone Bear), metonyms (where something is named or illustrated by one of its attributes, for example 'war bonnet' for 'chief').


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    On display: Room 26: North America