Quill-wrapped horsehair Crow/Plateau warshirt for sale

I am offering for sale an 1840s Crow / Plateau-style war shirt reproduction with quill-wrapped horsehair strips. It is not copy of any existing piece, it is my own creation, but it fully respects period and tribal patterns in every detail and aspect based on deep research and examination of existing original pieces.

Description

The hides are brain tanned deer hides that were wetscraped, the same way as originals were. They are very thin and soft, which is typical for original pieces. The hides were then patinated to give them an old look. The quills were dyed mostly with natural dyes. The horsehair strips are sewn entirely with real sinew. White horsehair was used as a filler, as with old originals.

The beadwork is done with mostly antique, 150-year-old pony beads, including chalk white and red white inside beads, while the powder blue pony beads are contemporary French reproductions. All beadwork was carried out with real backstrap sinew.

An old hand-dyed woolen cloth was used to cover the bibs and small shoulder strips. The war shirt is colored with orange-red earth pigmentArtistic patina was applied overall with care and sense.

Dimensions

Width: 175 cm (69″), height: 125 cm (49″)

Price

$12,500

Images

Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
War shirt back
Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
War shirt back - detail
Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
War shirt front
Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
War shirt front - detail
Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
Strip detail
Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
Strips detail
Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
Shoulder detail
Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
Beadwork and quillwork detail
Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
Beadwork and quillwork detail
Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
Beadwork and quillwork detail
The bib
Quill-wrapped horse hair Crow/Plateau war shirt reproduction.
Bib detail

Quill-wrapped horsehair technique

Working with quill-wrapped horsehair is among the most prestigious quillworking techniques. It is very difficult to learn and even more difficult to master. I know of fewer than 10 people who are able to embroider with this technique, and not all of them are able to maintain high quality.

The quill-wrapped horsehair technique is not only very complex and difficult to master, but also very time consuming. It takes several times as long to embroider a given area with this technique than any other (for example, the zig zag and simple band techniques). This is the reason why quill-wrapped horsehair is very expensive.

Quill-wrapped-horse hair war shirt, Umatilla, cca 1860, NMAI.
Quill-wrapped-horse hair war shirt, Umatilla, cca 1860, NMAI.
Detail of original quill-wrapped-horse hair legging strip, British museum.
Detail of original quill-wrapped-horse hair legging strip, British museum.

Transmontane war shirts with quill-wrapped horsehair strips are among the finest and most rare artifacts from Plains tribes. There are fewer than 30 known pieces in existence. They were produced by the Crow tribe and people of the Plateau, as documented in their collection history and by historic photographs.

Quill-wrapped-horse hair war shirt, pre-1840, NMAI.
Quill-wrapped-horse hair war shirt, pre-1840, NMAI.
Quill-wrapped-horse hair war shirt, cca 1860, Diker collection.
Quill-wrapped-horse hair war shirt, cca 1860, Diker collection.
Quill-wrapped-horse hair war shirt, cca 1850, NMAI.
Quill-wrapped-horse hair war shirt, cca 1850, NMAI.

Only distinguished tribesman were allowed to wear war shirts and those with quill-wrapped horsehair strips were among the finest available.

Blackfeet aka Sits in the middle of the land, chief of Crows with his wife. He is wearing quill wrapped horse hair warshirt with leather fringes.
Blackfeet aka Sits in the middle of the land, chief of Crows with his wife. He is wearing quill wrapped horse hair warshirt with leather fringes.
Old crow and his wife, Pretty medicine pipe. Old crow is wearing quill-wrapped horse hair war shirt. 1873.
Old crow and his wife, Pretty medicine pipe. Old crow is wearing quill-wrapped horse hair war shirt. 1873.
Plateau indians chief wearing beautiful quill wrapped horse hair warshirt. Bill Holm painting.
Plateau indians chief wearing beautiful quill wrapped horse hair warshirt. Bill Holm painting.
Crow indians. The man holding a pipe wears quill wrapped horse hair war shirt. Bill Holm painting.
Crow indians. The man holding a pipe wears quill wrapped horse hair war shirt. Bill Holm painting.

Manufacturing images

Lukas wetscraping deer hide.
Article author wetscraping a deer hide.
Lukas wringig a hide.
Article author wringing a deer hide.
Finished braintanned hide with legs intact.
Braintanned deer hide with intact legs.
Smokehouse for braintanned hides.
Smokehouse for braintanned hides.
Dying yellow porcupine quills.
Dying yellow porcupine quills.
Quill wrapped horse hair in progress.
Quill wrapped horse hair in progress.
Beadwork and quillwork detail.
Beadwork and quillwork detail.
Shaving an old woolen hand dyed cloth to expose its fabric.
Shaving an old woolen hand dyed cloth to expose its fabric.
A shoulder seam stripe.
A shoulder seam stripe.

Acknowledgment

Thank you for buying and supporting my art, as it keeps the tradition alive. The tradition of beauty, majesty, and artistic depth. Do not forget that you are buying not only the object, but also hundreds or maybe thousands of hours of research, experimentation, trial and error, and joy and frustration. You are buying a piece of the good old buffalo days of the Plains tribes and also piece of my heart.