Object: Beaded Moccasins

Object: Pair of fully beaded Moccasins

Accession: E/1982/11/017

Name: Pair of fully beaded Moccasins

Location: North America, Plains USA

Date: Early 20th Century

Materials: Rawhide, seed beads

riderdunstonebrittany_124935_9643543_IMG_0522

Keywords: Lakota, Teton, Sioux, Moccasins, Calf-Hide, Rawhide, Beaded, Native American, Lazy-Stitch, Sinew

This artifact, a pair of Lakota Indian Moccasins, comes from the Plains USA. The moccasins are made of rawhide. Typically moccasins are made of some kind of calf, buffalo, antelope, or elk (1). The artifact has multiple geometric designs including crosses and triangular shapes. The pair is fully beaded containing seed beads in the colors green, red, blue, and white. The beads are assorted in a “lazy stitch” technique. These moccasins have worn soles indicating usage, possibly for ceremonial practices.

 

The Lakota Indians come from the Plains lands of Wisconsin, Minnesota, North and South Dakota. The Lakotas, through beadwork culture, contain images and designs specific to the artist. The culture focuses on the individuality and imperfection of the beadwork at hand. Throughout time the usage of beadwork has changed. In the 1840s-1870s Lakota beadwork contained block images, simplistic triangle images and the beadwork they created were used in daily life. Typically the background contained a white base and kept to older block designs. Beading reached its height in the 1870s as the Lakotas were forced into reservations. As the decade continued more complex designs were introduced, such as geometric designs. In the 1940s-present the Lakotas began using multiple techniques, including the lazy-stitch, to introduce more intricate designs. As WWII ended veterans began coming back to the reservations and Powwows were used to celebrate their return. During this time beadwork became not only more complex but became great pride regalia for the Lakotas Indians. (2)

riderdunstonebrittany_124935_9643544_IMG_0536

In the artifact, the observant can identify the unsymmetrical pattern between the left and the right moccasin. This is a traditional value in Lakota beadwork. For the artist, it is not about making the pieces perfect but rather metaphorically showing the imperfection of a piece of craftwork. The Lakotas wanted to show how the imperfect is still beautiful. It was also believed that the irregularity was a “visual pun”, among the craft workers. (3) Usually, this imperfection would be seen as a mistake but in Lakota culture, this is a treasured value. Lakota Indians believed/believe that the imperfect is beautiful and the imperfect is just a fact of life.

The stitching in the moccasin is also a very prevalent tradition in Lakota culture. The “lazy-stitch” is a commonly used technique in beadwork among many Indian pieces. In identifying the difference, observers look at bead color, style, and how the piece is made. The Lakota Indians typically use white as the background with red, green, and blue as some of the main coloration. In the moccasins observed above, the observer can see these identifications present with the white background and red, blue, green coloration included. The piece also includes the lazy stitch technique throughout the beading. The stitch creates a sense of commonality and connection among the Lakota Indian beadwork. The technique has held up throughout Lakota Indian culture and shows the ability to replicate the technique. The coloration and stitching is a treasured past that holds significant value currently in Lakota culture.

 

riderdunstonebrittany_124935_9643547_IMG_0534

 

((Brittany Rider-Dunstone))-Written as part of the ANTH1253 2018 Spring Semester Class Project

References:

(1)Wallaert, Hélène
2006
Beads and a Vision: Waking Dreams and Induced Dreams as a Source of Knowledge for Beadwork Making. An Ethnographic Account from Sioux Country. Plains Anthropologist 51(197): 3–15c

(2)Dean, David

2002

Beading in the Native American Tradition. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press

(3) Green, Richard

1997

An Aspect of Irregularity in Teton Sioux Beadwork.  Whispering Wind 28(5) 9

0 Responses to “Object: Beaded Moccasins”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




Ethnology @ SNOMNH is an experimental weblog for sharing the collections of the Division of Ethnology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

Archives

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,689 other followers


%d bloggers like this: