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Crow child's wool dress with elk teeth and cowrie shell accents; image credit on full record.
Crow child's wool dress with elk teeth and cowrie shell accents, back view; image credit on full record.

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Clothing; Crow, Dress, Child, Wool, Cowrie Shells & Dentalia, 33 inch.

A Crow child's elk teeth and cowrie shell wool dress, made from a U.S. military wool blanket, circa 1900, machine-stitched; front of dress decorated with 64 elk teeth; back with two rows of 83 cowrie shells; elk teeth and cowrie shells applied with string. Additional materials on dress include silk ribbons; pale blue wool for yokes; red fabric for borders; navy cotton at neck; and beads in colors of pink, blue, black, and white. Beads form a cross on either side at hem and on shoulders.

Women and girls wore prestigious elk tooth garments on important occasions to indicate their status in society. Because there are two canines per animal, a skilled hunter must kill many animals or a have enough wealth to trade for the teeth, this dress uses 32 elk. Teeth also symbolize longevity, as the canines are the only thing that survive after the elk carcass has rotted away (Hail 1993: 94)....[more information available via subscription]

p4A Item D9792072
Category:  native american    Origin:  America
Type:  clothing    Year:  1895 - 1905

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