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Long bodice (collar) of dentalium shell is a pre-style form of decoration because these shells were hard to obtain. The Sioux would have traded for them. This would be for a special woman and handed down in families. The very heavy dress does not look reworked and was worn very little and probably only used for special occasions. Blue wool trade cloth, red, white, blue ribbons might indicate July 4th reference. A slit is at the back of the dress and the basic pattern is T-shaped. Four-direction designs on the bottom would be prestige decoration and the little flowers along the bottom are unusual, odd. The bells are different colors. The body of the dress is machine sewn.

Credit Line

Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund

Item History

  • Made between 1875 and 1900

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