Plains indians reproductions

What are Plains indians reproductions, why are they made, why do their quality and authenticity matter, and how to recognize their qualities.

Woolen cloth with white, undyed edge (saved list)

The white undyed edge on woolen cloth was considered a blemish by whites, but Indians loved it and made it a design element. This article describes why white borders on cloth were created, what their purpose was, where wool cloth was made, how it was dyed, what the dyes were made of, and much more.

Dentalium shells

Dentalium is a mollusc with a conical shell that resembles an elephant’s tusk. They were highly valued among North American Indians as ornaments and as currency. They were mined in the northwest pacific coast of the US and Canada. They were then distributed through the intertribal trade network further north, south and east. The Indians of the Great Plains made them primarily into earrings, necklaces and breastplates, but also into other ornaments.

A small white bear, Kansa warrior. His earrings are made of shell hairpipes. Painting by George Catlin.


Hairpipes are narrow white cylindrical tubes that were used as ornaments by the Indians of the Great Plains. They were made mainly from shells and later from bones. Who and how the hairpipes were made, how they were used, and the difference between those made of shell and those made of bone are answered in this article.

A pile of typical Hudson's Bay blankets.

Hudson’s Bay point blankets

Wool blankets played an important role in the Indian trade, representing about 60 percent of the volume of traded European goods. They were manufactured in European factories in a wide range of sizes and weights. Points were narrow lines of woolen fiber woven into the edge of the blanket. The number of lines determined the size and weight of the blanket. The famous Hudsons Bay company introduced a distinctive design, wide stripes of alternating color, mostly one on each edge. This is how the iconic Hudson’s Bay point blankets came into existence.

Side seam moccasins. British museum.

Side seam moccasins

Side seam moccasins are the oldest known type of moccasins from the Great plains. During the first half of the 19th century, they were the only type of shoes worn by most of the Great plains and Plateau tribes. They consisted of a single piece of leather and had soft soles. Some of them were decorated with quill and beadwork. Very often they were made for trading purposes. Winter moccasins with the fur on were also made following this pattern.

Crow war shirt decorated with beaded strips and leather fringes.

Plains Indians War Shirts

War shirts are some of the most beautiful artifacts plains indians produced. They were not just interesting and attractive pieces of outerwear, but rather a sign of social status. Only distinguished warriors had the right to wear such kind of shirts. The article discusses the meaning of war shirts, constructions details, importance of four beaded or quilled strips, meaning of human scalp locks, ermine tubes and leather fringes, pigment painting, pictographs and many more.

Crow lance cases.

Period Embroidery Beads

Beads manufactured nowadays differ from those made one or two hundred years ago, particulary in colour shades and shape. Old beads were all of European origin and made of glass. The articless discusses history of seed and pony beads and differences between historic and modern beads colours and shapes. It contains images of many Plains Indians pre-reservation items and list of the most widespread 19th century bead colours.

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