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Robe with Mythic Bird

Eastern Plains

Not on view

A great mythic bird composed of geometric motifs appears on this famous robe. The precisely balanced and rhythmic composition is constructed from elongated shapes and lines, together with unpainted elements and cross-hatching. During the early 1700s, a French trader, missionary, or military official likely obtained the garment from one of the tribes of the Illinois Confederacy, probably at a trading outpost on the Mississippi River near present-day Saint Louis. It is one of the oldest surviving painted hides from the period.

Robe with Mythic Bird, Native-tanned leather, pigment, Eastern Plains

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