Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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quirt with beaded wrist strap
  • unknown Lakota maker
  • quirt with beaded wrist strap, 1861–1889
  • Where object was made: Fort Yates, Dakota Territory (present-day North Dakota), United States
  • wood, brass tacks, buckskin, porcupine quills, leather, wool cloth, staining, metal, beading, carving, dyeing
  • Object Length/Width: 87 x 42 cm
    Object Length/Width: 34 1/4 x 16 1/2 in
  • Gift of H. Greissinger
  • Not on display
  • 2007.0460

This wooden handle has a leather strip at one end and a beaded buckskin cuff at the other. The wooden handle has a sawtooth cut on one side, with a diagonal line of brass tacks to each point. The flat sides of each "tooth" is a dark brown, while the rest of the handle is natural wood color, although there are dark brown marks under the teeth. The end of the handle near the cuff is round in cross-section while the carved portion is hexagonal. A narrow leather strip is threaded through a hole at the end of the carved handle. The base of the leather lash is wrapped with red wool and a buckskin strip.

A wide buckskin strip is attached to the round end of the handle as a wrist strap. It is decorated with lane stitched beading. The main portion has a yellow field. There are three repeats of a butterfly-like design with a red body, blue wings, and dark blue outline. One end of the wrist strap has two narrower strips or flaps, decorated with yellow and light blue beads in a sawtooth pattern outlined with dark blue. Both of these strips has a narrower strip, doubled over and partially wrapped with red quills, and ending with twisted buckskin fringe. The other end of the wrist strap has buckskin strips partially wrapped with red quills, the longer portion is twisted. The wrist strap is attached to to the wooden handle by thin buckskin strips laced through the buckskin and wood. These ties are knotted on the side with the flaps, the ties are decorated with metal cones and two with dark blue wool strips.

It was intended to be used in society dances.