A true sale highlight, this is an exceptional and rare circa 1850 pre-Indian Wars period painted buffalo war shield and cover attributed to the Kiowa from the ex-Forest Fenn collection. The piece is from the Forest Fenn collection and hung on the wall of Fenn’s home office until he sold the shield to collector Ted Levy in the early 2000s. The shield also appeared along with other Indian materials supplied by Fenn as “props” in the Rebecca DeMornay 1988 movie “And God Created Woman”, adorning the walls of the Governor’s mansion in two scenes.
This is a fine and outstanding pre-Indian Wars period shield and cover which is comprised of thick parfleched buffalo bison hide, likely from the shoulder hump. The cover is made of Indian brain-tanned buckskin and is polychrome painted in typical Kiowa fashion with old yellow ocher and powder paints from mineral pigments. There is a simple, little blue and red circle in the center of the shield and a lone strip of old worn trade clothe tied onto the front left side. The original arm straps are still attached to the back of the shield with some drying of the hide as expected as while as stains and wear from honest use. Some of the yellow ochre is flaking off in some areas. There are two old splits in the hide cover toward the lower front bottom as shown. Shields of this early age, especially from the Kiowa of the Southern Plains are exceedingly rare and a true piece of history. Provenance: From the ex-Forest Fenn collection Santa Fe, New Mexico; used as a prop in the 1988 Rebecca DeMornay movie; ex-collection of Ted Levy Santa Rosa, California. The shield measures 20 inches across. The shield has some later glued repairs and touch ups from former collectors.*