Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

  • unknown Ka’igwu (Kiowa) maker
  • cradleboard, late 1800s–1928
  • Where object was made: United States
  • wood, buckskin, cloth, metal, beading, incising
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 114 x 34 x 26 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 44 7/8 x 13 3/8 x 10 1/4 in
  • William Bridges Thayer Memorial
  • Not on display
  • 2007.2310
Label Text

The cradleboard has a wooden frame of two wooden pickets that extend above the baby wrapping portion. The pickets are angled slightly away from each other and joined with a slat at the top of the baby wrapper and another at the bottom. The wood is tied together with strips of buckskin. Each picket has a small circle at the top with a hole in the center. There is a cross of metal brads on each picket. An incised line on each picket defines a border. The portion below the triangle has oblique lines. There is a buckskin loop on the horizontal slat.

The baby wrapping portion appears to be constructed from unbleached canvas with a cloth lining and beading over the top of the canvas. Buckskin strips attach to secure it to the frame. There is a sheet of buckskin between the canvas and the wooden frame. The baby wrapper is larger at the top and narrows as it goes down. There is a wide strip of buckskin at the bottom, and buckskin edging along one side of the buckskin lacing down the middle. There is buckskin fringe at the bottom of the laces. The lining cloth is a faded red with rope-like stripes alternating with white lines.

The entire outside surface of the baby wrapper, except the buckskin portion at the bottom, is beaded. Buckskin fringe with large white beads dots the portion around they baby's head.

The facing left side decoration consists of a medium blue field with two flower-like designs with a diamond center and heart-shaped petals. The center of each component shape is dark blue, outlined with pink. The whole shape is outlined with red, then white. There are three triangles at the bottom, near the buckskin. Two are yellow with dark blue outlines and one is pink with a green outline. All are outlined in white. The design near the baby's head is a cluster of six diamonds. Two are light blue, with dark blue outlines, two are yellow with red outlines, and two are pink with green outlines. The whole configureation has a think white outline that defines each diamond within.

The facing right side decoration consists of a green field with two repeats of the same design in the area near the laces. There is a large leaf-like shape. Half of it is dark blue with a yellow outline, and other half is red with a pink outline. Both sides are outlined together with medium blue, then white, which extends down as a stem to two light blue tulip-like flowers, outlined in black then white. The higher iteration of this design has one pink tulip. The design near the baby's head is a cluster of six diamonds. Two are yellow with a dark blue outline. Two are light blue with a red outline. Two are pink with a medium blue outline. The whole shape has a thin white outline that defines each diamond within.

There is a thick yellow line at the top with thinner dark blue and white lines, separating the green from the medium blue fields.