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Metis Beadwork: Vest

Metis Beadwork: Vest


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Fennimore Art Museum beaded Metis/Dakota vest.
Fennimore Art Museum beaded Metis/Dakota vest.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Lawrence J. Barkwell on Sep 10, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Fenimore Art Museum Metis/Dakota Beaded Vest 1860s

Fenimore Art Museum New York State Historical Association PO Box 800 / 5798 State Highway 80 (Lake Road)

The Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art

beads, buttons, cotton, glass, hide, Plains, Sioux-Metis, Sioux-Metis Vest, Vest

“Vest,” 1860 ca., in Fenimore Art Museum, T0073, http://collections.fenimoreartmuseum.org/items/show/1090.(accessed September 10, 2013) 1860 ca.

Physical Dimensions
Ht: 21" W: 18"




Sioux-Metis Vest with Turtle, Plants and Animal Designs File Catalog Entry: Vest Sioux-Metis Manitoba and North Dakota c.1880 Caribou hide, glass beads, brass buttons, cotton binding 21" l x 18" w. T73 Paul Coze, (1903-1974) a French artist who collected in Canada, c.1928-1938, and settled in Arizona in 1939; Walter M. Banko, Montreal, Quebec The French halfbreed or Metis families living among the Teton Sioux or Lakota in the last decades of the nineteenth century developed a distinctive art style. It is comprised of small curvilinear and multi-colored designs in fine beadwork, abstract in form but clearly derived from plant forms, combined with figures of stars, birds and horses and placed in bilaterally symmetrical compositions against a background of tanned leather. (c.f. Penney 1992, fig.104; Pohrt 1975, fig. 9 & 25; Maurer 1977, fig.153; Herbst and Kopp 1993, fig.76; Myers 1993, figs. 1 & 6; Conn 1975 p. 75) Coming from southern Manitoba, Minnesota, and the French communities near St. Louis, their ancestors had been employed in the fur trade and the U.S. army in the Dakotas. In the 1840s the Metis had settled at Fort Pierre and other trading posts on the upper Missouri, where they had produced elaborately quillworked skin graments for white travellers. After the buffalo wre gone many of these people had joined their Sioux Indian relatives on the reservations. The whimsical style of fine beadwork that they developed in the 1880s is intermediate between their former delicate floral quillwork and the geometric style that was developing among the western Sioux. Most typical in this Sioux-Metis beadwork is the flower-like motif that consists of several V-shapes of different colors, stacked on top of each other. All designs have a thin white border. Sioux-Metis beadwork is almost exclusively found on garments and pouches of a type that the Metis had been producing for generations. In comparison with other examples, the decoration of this vest is rather restrained; the turtle figures on the front are unusual. This type of beadworked garment is often and mistakenly attributed to the Eastern Sioux or Dakota in Minnesota, but no examples have a reliable documentation as such. In contrast, elderly people on the Rosebud and other Teton Sioux reservations are well aware of the true origin of this work. (Possibly) Palais du Trocadero 1931, p.19. Provenance: (1) Paul Coze. French artist and ethnographer (1903-1974) who collected throughout Canada ca. 1928-1938 until he visited the Southwestern United States and subsequently settling there in 1939.; (2) Walter Banko. Montreal, Quebec, Canada.; (3) Eugene V. Thaw March 1992.

Original Format

North Dakota/South Dakota, USA Sioux-Metis Plains


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