Object photography

View of the artwork on display in 'Intersections: Native American Art in a New Light'; Peabody Essex Museum; 2006 through 2012.
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Object description

  • Dakota (Eastern Sioux) artist
  • Cradleboard, about 1840
  • Porcupine quill, leather, wood, metal
  • Great Plains, North America
  • H: 31 1/8 in, W: 15 1/4 in, D: 5 in (H: 79.1 cm, W: 38.7 cm, D: 12.7 cm)
  • Museum Purchase, 1949
  • E27984
  • Invokes protective power of Thunderbird
  • Implies high-ranking family, through elaborate decorations

Throughout this cradleboard, the artist has woven stylized motifs of Thunderbird, the omnipotent spirit-being who keeps away dangerous Underworld creatures. Thunderbird also bestows blessings on humans, and this imagery serves as an appeal to protect the baby.