North American Auction Company
Live Auction

Fine Montana Collector Sale - April 2023

Sat, Apr 22, 2023 11:00AM EDT
Lot 134

RARE Cheyenne Quilled & Beaded War Shirt Ca. 1875

Estimate: $30,000 - $40,000

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$50 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$2,000 $250
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$50,000 $2,500

This is an astounding, rare and authentic circa 1875 hide painted war shirt with quillwork and beadwork from the Southern Cheyenne Native American Indians. This is truly a masterpiece of American Indian art, showing exceptional craftsmanship and extraordinary art appeal. The piece dates to the 19th Century and shows a typical men’s warrior, war shirt pattern being comprised of Indian brain-tanned buckskin, with old blue mineral pigment and yellow ocher paint having a beaded trace clothe tabs or “bib” on the upper chest on both sides as well as dozens of long sections of black horse tail hair wrapped in quillwork and long quillwork sections. The quillwork sections show typical war shirt pattern being a long strip running down the entire chest, over the shoulders and down the back as well as down the majority of the sleeves. The long sections of quillwork / art is done in porcupine quill which shows natural and mineral dyed colors of cream, red, and a purple/ indigo/ blue with tight traditional intricate weaving. The shirt has some dry areas from age, and there are some old stains on the inside of the hide indicating use. The quillwork has a wonderful early Mandan pattern. The beaded bib section shows pony chalk white 19th Century glass trade beads. The shirt is of a large man’s size and has some fringes that were hand cut from the bottom edge. Most of the quill work is striking with wonderful kept condition showing some slight loss (as in the pictures) but mostly very good, tight work. This is truly a rare shirt, as only a few Southern Plains quilled examples exist in any private or museum collections. Similar shirts are shown in the photos from the Chandler-Pohrt collection, Splendid Heritage, and the Museum of the American Indian that have utilized identical art features. The shirt can come with a custom display stand. Provenance: from a private Missouri family collection.*