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Cradleboard with Thunderbirds

Dakota (Eastern Sioux)

Not on view

Thunderbirds, powerful guardian spirits, are depicted on this porcupine-quilled and beaded cradleboard, along with rows of humanlike figures possibly representing manitos, or spirit beings. Dozens of metal cones hang from the cover and strap, creating a gentle tinkling sound with the slightest movement. In most Plains Indian tribes, a baby’s birth called for an elaborately ornamented cradleboard. Made with love by the mother’s relatives, cradles were often passed down as family heirlooms.

Cradleboard with Thunderbirds, Wood, native tanned leather, porcupine quills, metal cones, glass beads, Dakota (Eastern Sioux)

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