War shirt, leggings, head-dress and moccasins

Blackfoot, around AD 1840-60
From Alberta or Montana, North America

Various items of the Blackfoot costume

The war shirt is decorated with painted designs including Thunderbirds, bison heads, horses, and tadpoles, probably representing a combination of religious images relating to specific exploits of the owner (who is not identified). The tadpoles, also depicted down the leggings, may represent war wounds. Large amounts of ermine or weasel fur have been used on the leggings, this animal being considered the most dangerous, for its size, by the Blackfoot. A legendary figure, Scarface, was said to have received a weasel-tail costume, in theory similar to this one, from the Sun.

The head-dress includes perhaps a hundred eagle feathers, as well as a series of large grizzly bear claws placed between two bison horns. These are intended to show the abilities of the wearer as a hunter and warrior.

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War shirt, leggings, head-dress and moccasins

  • Head-dress

    Head-dress

  • Back of shirt

    Back of shirt

  • Leggings

    Leggings

 

More information

Bibliography

J.C.H. King, First peoples, first contacts: (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)

Dimensions

Length: 150.000 cm (shirt)
Length: 150.000 cm (shirt)
Length: 150.000 cm (shirt)
Length: 150.000 cm (shirt)

Museum number

AOA Q72.Am.14.a-b, c, d;AOA Q85.Am.33.a-b

ENA13205;ENA13206;ENA23066;ENA22315

Christy Collection

Location

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