Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

woman's wearing blanket, dance blanket
  • United States
  • woman's wearing blanket, dance blanket, 1900–1999
  • Where object was made: Osage Nation, United States
  • broadcloth, rayon, silver, glass
  • Not on display
  • EL2011.018
  • Loan: Not in the Spencer's collection
Label Text

Exhibition Label:
"Passages: Persistent Visions of a Native Place," Sep-2011, Nancy Mahaney
This dance blanket embodies Osage aesthetics through its use of contrasting colors representing duality through paired oppositions. Ribbon work designs are cut into a layer of silk ribbon and turned under to expose the bottom layer of a contrasting colored ribbon. The strips are sewn together forming a repetitive pattern of reverse appliqué design. Each set of contrasting colors is unified by the fan and u-symbols. The result is a dynamic optical tension. Blankets such as this developed in Oklahoma after the turn of the century. As the Osage nation experienced a period of growth and increasing wealth, women’s wearing blankets became increasingly elaborate, with their production peaking during the oil boom of the early 20th century. The hand motif is specifically associated with women’s blankets, often made
for women and girls to wear during the I’n-Lon-Schka. The blankets are also made for giveaways to honor respected individuals. The making and giving of the “Friendship” blankets are a significant gesture that helps to strengthen community ties and relationships.