- About 1915–20
- Deer hide, glass beads, ermine fur, buffalo (American bison) fur, canvas, wool cloth, ochre, string, and thread
- 27 9/16 × 64 15/16 in.
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College: Gift of Guido R. Rahr, Sr., Class of 1951P; 985.47.26601visibilityLook & Discuss
When Plains warriors achieved victory over their enemies, they recorded it on the largest surface possible, which was a buffalo robe. A warrior would wear the robe around his shoulders as he walked through camp. If someone asked him about the drawings, he could spread the hide out and tell tales of his acts of bravery in battle.
Like a buffalo hide, a shirt could be a place to exhibit drawings or other markers of the wearer’s great exploits for all to see. A man of high regard or honor would have worn this shirt.
Explore the Object
This shirt is made of two native-tanned hides matched in size and shape and sewn together. It is typical of Apsáalooke style, with pink and light blue beading and ermine fur.
Plains Indians collected white weasel pelts, called ermine, during winter when the animal’s fur turned completely white except for the black tip at the end of the tail. Weasels were plentiful on the Plains but very difficult to catch. Warriors respected the weasel for its fierce nature, and put them on their clothing to reflect that power. They also used weasel fur to decorate other clothing such as leggings and headdresses. This shirt has several full ermines on it, as well as a number of ermine tails, which would move dramatically as the warrior moved.
Learn more about the history of the Apsáalooke (Crow) people from Dartmouth Professor of History and Native American Studies Colin Calloway as he discusses this man's warshirt.