Carved Dance Mirror
Arts of the Americas
Wood, pigment, glass
early 19th century
"Sioux Chief's Looking Glass"
Henry L. Batterman Fund and the 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.
Two trade mirrors, one slightly larger than the other, are set into one side of a soft red wood paddle shaped frame. The top portion has a cutout opening shaped as a ball with a pointed top. Below the mirrors is another opening carved into the shape of a pointed ovoid. The wood on this side of the frame is chip carved and incised with lines rubbed with red and black, many of which look like elongated leaves. Below the mirrors are two triangular shapes with two extensions on each one, resembling the heads of horned animals.
On the reverse side of the frame, a creature is incised. Clearly a quadruped with a heart line, its horns are placed at the juncture of its head and neck, and its tail transforms into a thunderbird. Below this is an irregular rectangle in double outlines of red and green with a petal shaped form at each corner. At the center of this shape is a red complex form made of two chevron shapes joined at their central points. On this side of the object, the pointed ovoid opening is outlined in red and green incised lines with red foliate form at one end and another small pointed oval at the other. Below this is a simple form in red line that mimics the shape of the end of the stick-like leaf forms within.
This item is not on view
Sioux. Carved Dance Mirror, early 19th century. Wood, pigment, glass, 32 x 3 3/8 in. (81.3 x 8.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Henry L. Batterman Fund and the Frank Sherman Benson Fund, 50.67.96. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 50.67.96.jpg)
overall, 50.67.96.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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