yellow bodice with red trim on sleeves; long, thin green fringe at arm openings; two red silk rosette-like pouches (medicine bundles)--both open and empty--on front chest with long fringe and gold metallic beads; rows of multicolored beadwork diamonds at front and back neckline, edged in white; upper back has similar long fringe with gold beads, one intact red silk rosette-pouch and small cylindrical beaded element with multicolored horizontal rows of beads; natural colored skirt with fringe at sides and bottom hem; two green rectangular tabs and left and right sides at hem, edged with short fringe and white, light and dark blue beading and metal cones; green scalloped design at hem trimmed with similar beading; horizontal row of fringe and metal cones with green, red and white beadwork at middle of skirt, front and back

Dress, c. 1870

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2017 Accession Highlight

This dress, stitched together from two brain-tanned deer hides, was made by a Kiowa woman artist for a particular individual, most likely a close relative. The maker of the dress maintained the forms of the deer within the garment—the finishing tabs on the skirt and arms are from the deer’s legs, investing the wearer with the swiftness and grace of the animals themselves. Hundreds of tin cones are stitched in rows in the middle of the skirt and along the bottom tabs. They acted like bells or chimes; when the wearer of this dress moved, she was accompanied by music. Finely cut fringe finishes the dress, each piece individually applied by the maker. Crimson medicine bundles are attached to the upper portion, providing protection and well-being to the wearer.

Similar Kiowa dresses of this quality and age are rare, and this exceptional example is the first piece of Kiowa clothing in Mia’s collection. From the Southern Plains, it complements Mia’s strong collection of Northern Plains garments, including the Lakota dentalium-shell dress (2011.32) and the Lakota beaded-yoke dress (74.64.5).

yellow bodice with red trim on sleeves; long, thin green fringe at arm openings; two red silk rosette-like pouches (medicine bundles)--both open and empty--on front chest with long fringe and gold metallic beads; rows of multicolored beadwork diamonds at front and back neckline, edged in white; upper back has similar long fringe with gold beads, one intact red silk rosette-pouch and small cylindrical beaded element with multicolored horizontal rows of beads; natural colored skirt with fringe at sides and bottom hem; two green rectangular tabs and left and right sides at hem, edged with short fringe and white, light and dark blue beading and metal cones; green scalloped design at hem trimmed with similar beading; horizontal row of fringe and metal cones with green, red and white beadwork at middle of skirt, front and back