Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

ghost dance shirt
  • unknown Lakota maker
  • ghost dance shirt, 1861–1889
  • Where object was made: Fort Yates, Dakota Territory (present-day North Dakota), United States
  • cotton, pigment, eagle? feathers
  • Object Height/Width: 83 x 170 cm width is wrist to wrist
    Object Height/Width: 32 5/8 x 66 7/8 in width is wrist to wrist
  • Gift of H. Greissinger
  • Not on display
  • 2007.1390

This is a cotton canvas tunic style shirt.

The front is decorated with a blue triangle from neck to navel, outlined with red fringe, and there is blue fringe at the neck line. There is a red and blue starburst design at the apex of the blue triangle. There are eagle feather dangles here as well. Yellow stars are painted along the fringed border of the triangle, and two larger yellow stars are near either side crease. There are three bands of yellow dots around the bottom of the shirt, above the blue fringe, and at the end of each sleeve, also above the blue fringe. There is a blue stripe across the shoulder seams and down each arm ending in a buffalo hoof-like design.

There is an eagle feather stitched to the end of the right sleeve and the back of both shoulders.