Object photography

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Object description

  • Tsitsistas (Cheyenne) artist
  • Shield cover, 19th century
  • Leather, feather, paint
  • Great Plains, United States
  • H: 24 in, W: 18 3/4 in, D: 1 3/8 in (H: 61.0 cm, W: 47.6 cm, D: 3.5 cm)
  • Gift of Colonel George L. Smith, 1951
  • E26065
  • Bird and lizard figures specific meanings remain private to warrior
  • Warrior's personal expression of a vision

Warriors often depicted animals and spirit helpers who appeared in their visions or dreams, and painted them on their shields and shield covers. Though this shield cover's leather would have protected its owner in combat, the imagery was considered more protective than the physical object itself. The vision or dream and its associated meaning remained private, understood only by the owner, but can be generally understood as a depiction of the warrior's spiritual power and metaphoric elements of their world order.