North American Auction Company
Live Auction

Montana Premier March 4th Collector Auction

Sat, Mar 4, 2023 11:00AM EST
Lot 202

Circa 1865 Apsaalooke Crow Painted Medicine Shield

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $5
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$25,000 $2,500
$100,000 $5,000
This is a phenomenal circa 1865 pre-Indian Wars period Apsaalooke Crow painted Buffalo Bison hide polychrome painted medicine shield from the Arnold Marcus Chernoff and DuPont family collections. Any type of authentic American Indian historic period relics that date to before the start of the Indian Wars era are increasingly rare and highly sought after by collectors. This shield measures 19-inches across, and still has the original arm straps still attached on the back side. The piece is comprised of parfleched Buffalo Bison hide heated and stretched. There are old, faded polychrome mineral pigment painted symbols on the front along with old black rooster feathers and a large piece of rooster sinew and a bone tied on. These are confirmed to be rooster feathers, not crow, eagle or raven feathers which are restricted. The shield has some drying and slight curving of the outer edges, but is an outstanding authentic pre-Indian Wars era piece. The top upper rim has small pierced holes with small strips of buckskin hide fringes hanging down. This type of Native American shield is commonly referred to as medicine shields as they were only made and used by tribal shamans or “medicine men” and are immensely more scarce and valuable than their war shield or dance shield counterparts. These shields were used in healing rituals, vision quests, and before battles when the shaman would be seeking extra powers in inner-tribal affairs. Authentic medicine shields of any kind are rare and highly collectible in the world of American Indian art. Crow medicine shields are even more scarce, with only two other known examples in any museum or private collections. The back of the shield has remnants of old Buffalo Bison fur, and there are some minor stains from use. The arm straps exhibit staining as well. Provenance: The piece was from the renowned Arnold Marcus Chernoff collection who supposedly had the piece in several public exhibits including one at the NRA convention in the 1970’s; Chernoff later sold the piece to Mary Lou and Pierre DuPont. One of the best shields we have offered for public sale that has a striking appearance.