Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

  • unknown Cheyenne maker
  • cradleboard, late 1800s–1925
  • Where object was made: United States
  • wood, buckskin, cloth, metal, beads, ribbon, wire, beading, stamping
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 124 x 30.5 x 28 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 48 13/16 x 12 x 11 in
  • Source unknown
  • Not on display
  • 2007.2311
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 are joined with a slat at the top of the baby wrapper, and at the bottom. The wood is tied together with strips of buckskin. Each picket has a small hole near the point. There are small circular depressions with a cross in the center placed at regular intervals at the top of the pickets. Each has a cross configuration of these stamps, and additional stamps defining an area.

The baby wrapper is created from a long piece of buckskin, folded vertically, the fold sitting over the baby's head and the seam beneath the baby's feet. It is sewn to the wooden frame with buckskin strips. There are four buckskin ties. It is lined with red plaid cloth, which is visible between the wooden slats, indicating there is no buckskin back.

The buckskin is fully beaded with lane stitching, and dotted with buckskin fringes with large beads in light green, medium blue and brown (possibly red) with metal bells and red ribbons. The field is white, with one continuous red line down the middle. There is translucent yellow edging with color blocks that line up with design elements on the white field. The color blocks are light blue, dark blue and white, or red, dark blue and light blue. The design elements line up with the color blocks on the edging, and the same design on the opposite side of the opening.

There is a dark blue triangle with a red rectangle and a white outline that points to the red line. The intersection is marked with a light blue square, and the same triangle on the other side of the red line. This lines up with light blue and white blocks on the yellow edge. The design alternates with a green diamond, a red rectangle, and a white outline in the center, that crosses the red line. This lines up with the red and light blue blocks on the yellow edging. There is decorated fringe at each point where the design intersects the red line.

There is a wire loop at the top horizontal slat for display purposes. The loop is wrapped with adhesive tape.