Cow-bone hair pipes, glass beads, brass beads, silk ribbon, metal coin, Native-tanned hide or rawhide stringing, vegetable-tanned hide separators
Overall: 236.2 cm (93 in.)
Educational Purchase Fund 1932.50
Among the most spectacular of Plains ornaments are men’s breastplates and women’s necklaces made of cylindrical beads.
Among the most recognizable of Plains accouterments of the later 1800s are women’s necklaces and men’s breastplates made of so-called hair pipes, tubular beads originally made of shell. These prestigious chest ornaments became popular with the introduction of sturdier cow-bone pipes, nearly all manufactured by a mill in New Jersey and traded widely on the Plains. Bone pipes were made into many kinds of ornaments, the most elaborate being the necklaces and breastplates, today indispensable as powwow regalia. (The term “hair pipe” may stem from Native Americans’ use of smaller tubular beads as hair ornaments.)
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