Object photography

View of the artwork on display in 'Uncommon Legacies: Native American Art from the Peabody Essex Museum'; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA.; September 19, 2003 through November 16, 2003.
Click image to enlarge +

Object description

  • Possibly Nimi'ipuu (Nez Perce) artist
  • Shirt, about 1840
  • Antelope or mountain goat hide, porcupine quill, glass, wool
  • Columbia River Plateau, United States
  • L: 37 in, W: 30 in, D: 1/4 in (L: 94.0 cm, W: 76.2 cm, D: .6 cm)
  • Gift of Mr. Edward B. Rushford, 1947
  • E26323
  • Signified leadership and courage in war and hunting
  • Considered powerful, protective devices

This shirt's original owner earned the right to wear it through acts of bravery on the hunting grounds or in battle. Such shirts, usually decorated with fine beadwork and fringe, were believed to take on the strengths of their owners, who often served as the political and spiritual leaders of their tribes.