Pair of Chief's Dress Leggings
Arts of the Americas
Buckskin, pony beads, porcupine quills, thread
early 19th century
Henry L. Batterman Fund and Frank Sherman Benson Fund
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.
Leggings decorated with a single flap that is cut into short fringes that are wrapped with alternating red and blue quills. The top of the leggings have every other fringe cut out to create a toothed effect. Like the shirt, these leggings may be unfinished. There are no ties on the upper portion for looping to a belt or fastening at a thigh flap. However, both leggings have a dart sewn at this area, perhaps indicating that a tie was once attached.
Compared to many other Plains leggings this pair is exceptionally short at 25 inches in length. Most others average over 42 inches on the inside seam and some up to 48 inches, with up to 72 inches on the outside seam. The skin on these leggings is the same light color and texture as matching shirt 50.67.7a. They look new and unworn.
There is the possibility that these leggings were made in the Metis fashion, observed on several scouts, as knee high only. This would make them the same length as women's leggings. See Jarvis supplemental file in Arts of Americas office.
This item is not on view
Red River Metis. Pair of Chief's Dress Leggings, early 19th century. Buckskin, pony beads, porcupine quills, thread, 25 in. (63.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.7b-c. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.50.67.7b-c_view1.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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