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Pair of Leggings for Chief's War Dress

Arts of the Americas

MEDIUM Hide, porcupine quills, scalp locks, pony beads, maiden hair fern, horsehair, dye
DATES early 19th century
DIMENSIONS B: 29 x 42 3/4 in. (73.7 x 108.6 cm) C: 27 1/4 x 45 in. (69.2 x 114.3 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of the Americas
CREDIT LINE Henry L. Batterman Fund and Frank Sherman Benson Fund
PROVENANCE Prior to 1848, provenance not yet documented; by 1848, acquired by Nathan Sturges Jarvis; 1848, gift of Nathan Sturges Jarvis to the New-York Historical Society, New York, NY; 1937, loaned by the New-York Historical Society to the Brooklyn Museum; 1950, purchased from the New-York Historical Society by the Brooklyn Museum.
Provenance FAQ
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Pair of leggings acquired as a set with shirt 50.67.1a. Like most men's leggings they extend from the top of the foot to the top of the hip and were meant to be fastened at the waist with a belt. The leggings are long enough that a large portion of skin hung over the wearer's belt and fit the leg tightly. The bottom tabs are actually the forelegs of the animal and they might be left to drag behind or rolled up and tied around the ankle. The proper left legging is colored red, while on the right it is a dark brown and this creates a mirror image of the colors on the matching shirt. Both leggings are painted with brown vertical stripes. The pinkish cast over both leggings and shirt has been reported to be earth paint; the brown identified as possibly limonite found in shallow pond bottoms or at the edges of bogs. The stripes seem to be applied with a stiff instrument, perhaps a bone brush. A large black and white (eagle?) feather is attached to one legging. Scalp locks are fastened in a series, as a fringe on the outside of the legs. See Jarvis report in Arts of Americas files.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Sioux. Pair of Leggings for Chief's War Dress, early 19th century. Hide, porcupine quills, scalp locks, pony beads, maiden hair fern, horsehair, dye, B: 29 x 42 3/4 in. (73.7 x 108.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.1b-c. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 50.67.1b-c_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 50.67.1b-c_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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