Northern Plains / Upper Missouri Painted Buffalo Robe

Northern Plains / Upper Missouri Painted Buffalo Robe


W. 64” x H. 70”

A minimal and primal example of an early robe.

The design patterns are incised, backed with buffalo hoof-glue sizing, and painted with brown lignite. The symbolism depicts “patterns of power”. The four horizontal bands with diamond lozenges have a ‘pulsating' quality. The same linear motifs are seen outlining the central lozenge of box and border robes

Bonhams and Butterfield, December 8, 2003. Lot 3299

Ex Michael Kostelnik Collection

This robe was acquired years ago at an east coast antique store, as a lap robe, a commercial cloth backing the painted side.

It is the earliest robe we have ever handled and we believe among the earliest known.

The overall condition is very good. The hide is soft and finely tanned. There are small holes and minor tears that have been stitched. The surface is somewhat worn but the finely incised painting remains vibrant. Most of the buffalo hair on the reverse.

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