Blackfoot Beaded Hide War Shirt, Collected by John M. Phillips (1861-1953)

thread and sinew-sewn on softly tanned hide; canvas strips placed on the arms and shoulders are beaded using colors of cobalt, white, pony trader blue, and rose; ermine hang from hide thongs along neckline and sleeves and are embellished with blue beads, brass bells, bison hair, dyed red feathers, and purple yarn; body of shirt coated with yellow and orange pigment and decorated with painted designs, length 36 in. x chest 48 in.
fourth quarter 19th century

Cream Antelope (Blackfoot, d. 1936) was a leader among the Blackfoot in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He became a focus of a federal expedition, in which Walter McClintock (1870-1949), a photographer for the US government, recorded Cream Antelope singing traditional songs and photographing him in front of his tipi.  James Mooney describes Cream Antelope’s tipi, as the Thunder Tipi. The zigzag lines represent lightning, and is reference to the guardian spirit its original owner had received in a vision (Nabokov, Easton 1988: 161, 162)

The two images illustrated, were taken by Walter McClintock in 1904 and 1909, and show Cream Antelope wearing this shirt.  The leggings in lot 226, can be seen hanging from the travois poles behind him.   

John M. Phillips (1861-1953), a cunning engineer and industrialist, was a leading conservationist in Pittsburgh and the state of Pennsylvania.  He expanded his love of nature and wildlife to the West and spent much time in British Columbia.  In 1901, his passion for preservation resulted in the creation of the first game sanctuary of British Columbia, Goat Mountain Park.

Nabokov, Peter and Robert Easton. Native American Architecture. Oxford University Press: New York. 1989.

Cream Antelope Photos: Walter McClintock Papers, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Copyright Yale University



Provenance:Collected by John M. Phillips (1861-1953) and descended through the family.

Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium


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