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Male doll with beaded buckskin and fringe


Male. Beaded buckskin with fringe. Beaded shirt ornament with blue and white horizontal lanes. Fringed leggings with beaded cuffs in geometric designs. Red stroud cloth breechclout with yellow selvage. Some cloth deterioration. Leather head with braided hair wrapped in yellow cord. No facial features. Red silk scarf. Head is virtually detached.

Dolls were typically made for children to play with and were made to resemble humans, including tribal clothing and designs. Through play, the dolls “were used to communicate tribal values, practices, and customs” (Cotherman 2007, 24). Children learned how to prepare food, hunt, care for children, and make clothing by imitating adult behaviors in play. The clothing the dolls wore reflected the designs and patterns of that tribe or family tradition and often resembled human clothing the maker would create (Cotherman 2007).

Curatorial Remarks

Late 19th century. The male doll's shirt represents Southern Plains and Kiowa as does the wrapped braids. The braids could have been wrapped with many different materials. The materials used with this doll is most likely cloth. The doll's hair could possibly be human hair. Male dolls are rarer than female dolls because the dolls were typically made for little girls, so female dolls were made.

Tags: human hair, bead work, fringe, leather, cloth, blue, Pink, white, breechcloth, green fringe
People: Kiowa, Southern Plains tribes
Places: Southern Plains, Oklahoma
Purpose: domestic use

From interviews with Dr. Garrick Bailey, 2018-2020 University of Tulsa, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology

About the Era

Kiowa tradition places their earliest remembered homeland along the Columbia River in the Kootenay Region of British Columbia. Tribal history relates their migration to western Montana and then to the Black Hills region of South Dakota.

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Male doll with beaded buckskin and fringe
Native American; Kiowa
circa 1890
United States of America
hide, glass, hair, cloth
Object Type: 
Accession No: 
Not On View

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