Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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When Saynday Pulled Us Into This World
  • Teri Greeves
    born 1970
    born: Wind River Reservation, Wyoming, United States
  • When Saynday Pulled Us Into This World, 2009
  • Where object was made: United States
  • rawhide, walnut wood, diamond, sterling silver, beading
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 118 x 84 x 41 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 46 7/16 x 33 1/16 x 16 1/8 in
  • Museum purchase: Peter T. Bohan Art Acquisition Fund
  • Not on display
  • 2010.0189
Label Text

Stylized tree shape made from pieces of rawhide sewn together, attached to a rectangular wooden base and decorated with beadwork. The bottom half of the tree is one large "trunk" that is attached to the base with small metal nails. Extending down onto the sides of the base are five thinner strips of rawhide that are also attached with small metal nails and depict the "roots" of the tree. The top half of the tree is split into smaller "branches" of rawhide. Near the center of the tree the rawhide splits into two parts. One of the parts projects almost directly upward and at the top of that part splits into two short, smaller pieces. The other main part is longer and curves to one side. There is a thin, long projection that splits off and crosses behind the other main branch, and there is a very small, short piece that branches off that one near the end. On the larger piece that curves to the side the rawhide splits into two more, long and thin branches. The tree overall is hollow and made from small pieces of rawhide that are sewn together with what looks like artificial sinew. The ends of each of the branches are left open.

Most of the structure is deocrated with beadwork that depicts what is identified as the Kiowa creation story. Near the base there is a small hole in the rawhide seam that is rimmed with beads made from small diamonds. Emerging from this hole is a beaded female figure seen in profile, with blue face and arm and black hair. She wears a short sleeved red dress and brown belt or sash. On the other side of the hole is another female figure with blue skin and wearing a red dress. That figure is holding onto the hand of an arm that is emerging from the hole. Next to that figure is a standing male figure who has light tan skin, black hair and moustache, and wears a red kilt with brown belt or sash. The rest of the tree is covered with more human figures that have blue skin, black hair, and wear red clothing. The figures are both male and female and there are several smaller figures which may represent children. The figures are in different positions and poses, some with arms in the air, some with arms at their sides, some are turned outward, others are only seen from the back. The two uppermost branches that curve in opposite directions are also decorated with a scattering of sterling silver, star-shaped beads that have a clear seed bead in the center. The open ends of each of the branches are rimmed with bronze-colored cylindrical beads.