Details and Tribal Variations of the Two Hide Dress

The Following Garments are a collection of Two Hide dresses gathered during my research over the past year. Proper attribution is given where available and collected as well as links to the original file location when noted. The information provided about the dresses was harvested at the time of collection, are not my words, and can not be verified as being completely accurate.

Please forgive any errors, this is just an attempt to educate and illuminate the dress and people who wore them.

As Always, click on the actual picture to see a (sometimes) larger and more detailed view.

Unknown Origin, probably Yakima
 Nez Perce
Blackfoot two-hide dress, ca. 1890: Canada. Hide, elk teeth, seed beads, trade beads, brass beads, pony beads, red and blue wool, sinew. Woman elders are respected as the keepers of vast amounts of knowledge. This dress—decorated with valuable materials that would have taken a long time to gather or receive as gifts—is an example of what a Blackfoot elder might have considered her finest dress.
Woman’s Dress, Plains, Prairie, and Plateau, ca. 1850, Nez Perce (Nimi’ipuu), Idaho, Oregon, or eastern Washington. Deer hide, sinew thread, pony beads, dentalium shells, and pigment L: 78 1/2 in. W: 53 in. Thaw Collection, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown, N.Y. Photograph by John Bigelow Taylor. Object ID: T0096.
(Dallas Museum of Art)
 Nez Perce 1850
Nez Pierce dress Decorated with pound beads and Dentalium shells, collected by Reverend Spaulding.

The bottom of Nez Pierce dresses do not have wool
plugs. Please note the Spaulding dress is using size 8 black beads, but the white beads are definitely size 10.
Shoshone two-hide pattern dress with fully beaded yoke, ca. 1880: Colorado. Hide, seed beads, red wool, sinew; Shoshone belt, ca. 1910: Colorado.Canvas, seed beads, thread, leather tie; Shoshone moccasins and leggings, ca. 1890: Colorado. Hide, rawhide, seed beads, sinew. The Shoshone were considered intermediaries in the region’s elaborate intertribal trading network. As a result, they borrowed ideas from tribes with whom they had regular commerce, mainly those living on the Northern Plains. The fully beaded yoke on this Shoshone artist’s dress resembles a Sioux-style dress.
Sicangu Lakota (Sioux) two-hide pattern dress with fully beaded yoke, ca. 1870: South Dakota. Hide, seed beads, sinew. Between 1850 and 1870, Sioux artists began beading the background of the yoke with blue beads. The background represents a lake; the designs on the yoke may be reflections of the clouds in the sky or the Four Directions.
Sioux girl's two hide dress, ca. 1850: South Dakota. Deerhide, elk teeth, pony beads, red wool, sinew. This dress is decorated with 150 elk teeth. The number of teeth is a sign of the wealth of the artists family. Since only the eyeteeth of the elk (two per elk) are used on the dresses, the artist's male relatives may have been excellent hunters and/or traders.
Sioux two-hide dress (transitional style), ca. 1855(?): Probably South Dakota. Deerhide, pony beads, "hawk" brass bells, sinew. In the mid-1800's Sioux women began replacing the animal' tail on a two-hide dress with a beaded U-shaped design. With the greater availability of trade beads, artists could be more creative and experiment with new designs. Here, the crosses on the yolk may represent the Four Directions or the Morning Star.
Sioux two-hide pattern dress with fully beaded yoke, ca. 1865: Probably South Dakota, Deerhide, glass seed beads, tin cones, sinew. From the 1870's on yokes completely covered in beadwork became a trademark of dresses made by Sioux women. To get a larger decorative surface, women used three hides, but still followed a two-hide pattern.
 Sioux two-hide pattern dress with fully beaded yoke, ca. 1890: South Dakota. Hide, seed beads, sinew. Lakota women prefer beading with “lane stitch,” also called “lazy stitch,” which results in designs that resemble those made with porcupine quills. By stringing multiple seed beads on a needle before attaching the thread back down on the hide, this artist was able to cover a large area of the yoke faster than if she’d used quills.
 Yakima Dress
 Yakima Two Hide, click on picture for description
 Yakama two-hide dress, ca. 1860: Probably Washington, Deerhide, elk teeth, faceted "Russian" glass beads, glass seed beads, glass pony beads, red wool cloth, paint, sinew. The beaded fringe on the yoke is typiv\cal of the plateau-style dresses. The large blue-, green-, and gold-colored beads strung on the fringes are sometimes called "Russian" or "Siberian" beads. Russians traded them in North America, but they originated in Italy and Bohemia (noe part of the Czech Republic).
Yakama two-hide dress, ca. 1890: Washington. Hide, pony beads, faceted “Russian” glass beads, fire-polished glass beads, cut glass beads, seed beads, sinew; Yakama basket hat, ca. 1910: Washington. Plant materials, seed beads, thread; Yakama earrings, ca. 1910: Washington. Brass hoops, dentalium shells, red-painted rawhide; Yakama necklace, ca. 1930: Washington. Brass beads, leather. Extensive beadworkbeadwork, and even the fringe is beaded. This Yakama artist also chose to incorporate beads from many different time periods.

Yakama two-hide dress,ca. 1890: Washington. Hide, pony beads, brass beads, shell beads, sinew. Pony beads did not go out of style once newer beads were introduced. Today, artists of the Plateau, like members of the Yakama Nation, continue to use pony beads to define their tribal style.
Crow Elk Tusk/Tooth Two Hide Dress

Two-hide dress, latest year 1900
buckskin, pigment, cotton cloth, deer fur, beads, beading, dyeing
Object Height/Width: 123 x 120 cm width at sleeves
Object Height/Width: 48 3/8 x 47 1/4 in width at sleeves
Source unknown

Piegan (Blackfoot) two-hide dress, ca. 1850: Canada. Hide, pony beads, blue and red wool, sinew; Blackfoot belt, ca. 1890: Canada. Harness leather, brass tacks, hide; Blood (Blackfoot) moccasins, ca. 1880: Canada. Hide, seed beads, cloth, rawhide, canvas, sinew, thread. Piegan and other Northern Plains artists are noted for their emphasis on the natural beauty of the hides. The beadwork on the yoke focuses the eye on where the tail would be, and triangular trade-cloth patches represent the heads of the animals whose hides form the dress.

1 comment:

  1. So very beautiful ! How talented and artistic of the Native American women



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