Sioux war shirt sells for $32,500 at Heritage Auctions
DALLAS – A flurry of bids drove a Sioux pictorial beaded hide war shirt to the top of the list of lots sold at Heritage Auctions’ American Indian Art Auction Dec. 13. The shirt, circa 1890, was made in traditional Plains style and designed to be worn in the style of a poncho. It sold for $32,500. Absentee and Internet live bidding was available through LiveAuctioneers.
The unique shirt stood out because of its open sides, which are held together with hide tie laces and sleeves decorated with strips of beads in classic Sioux colors and designs along the shoulders and sleeves, and its edges are fringed with long locks of hair.
“In theory, at least, a lock of hair was added for each recognized deed in war … as capturing a horse, taking prisoners, getting wounds, saving the life of a friend, etc., but eventually the fringed shirt became simply the conventional regalia of the four grand councilors and finally a style of dress for anyone,” said Heritage American Indian Art Director Delia Sullivan.
Headlining a collection of polychrome ceramic jars was one from San Ildefonso, circa 1890, that exceeded its estimate when it brought in $13,750.
Other top jars included a Laguna four-color jar, circa 1900, which fetched $9,375; and three that each realized $8,750: a Socorro black-on-white storage jar, circa 1100-1250, a Tonto polychrome bird effigy jar, circa 1250-1450, and a Zia polychrome jar, circa 1900 (below).
“American Indian art is one of those categories that appeals to a wide array of collectors,” Sullivan said. “One of the great things about this auction was that, with the beaded hide items, the jars and bowls, rugs and baskets, collectors were able to find a variety of extraordinary American Indian pieces to add to their collections.”
Also among the top lots in the auction was a Haida carved argillite box made of argillite and abalone shell and signed by the artist, Christian White, which more than doubled its low-end estimate when it realized $10,625.
A Mississippian seated pottery female (below), circa 1000-1400, pulled in $8,125, the same price paid for a Plateau beaded hide cradleboard.
A pair of Plateau brightly beaded hide moccasins hit $5,500.