Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

  • unknown Lakota maker
  • breastplate, late 1800s–1993
  • Where object was made: United States
  • human hair?, reed, shell, seeds, beads, feathers, buckskin, string, felt, paint, dyeing
  • Object Height/Width: 47 x 38 cm height is taken from wooden beads at top
    Object Height/Width: 18 1/2 x 14 15/16 in height is taken from wooden beads at top
  • Gift from the Menninger Foundation
  • Not on display
  • 2007.2075

The breastplate is made of three columns of reed beads (the center row is narrow), separated by leather spacers. The sides have a fringe of large brown seeds, painted with dots of red. Small fringes of white beads on bucskins are between the large brown seeds. The dark brown round wood beads alternate with small white beads at the top of each row.

There are four bivalve shell halves on the front of the small middle column. There is a lock of light brown hair on the front of each wider column. Dyed red and black feathers, the bases of which are wrapped in red felt, are attached to the piece with a leather tie. The leather ties are intended to go around the torso.