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Man's breechcloth

Sac and Fox man’s breechcloth
ca. 1880
Wool cloth, cotton cloth, glass bead/beads, cotton thread
135 x 45 cm
Collected by Mark R. Harrington

This Sauk breechcloth, made out of blue wool cloth, is decorated with elaborate patterns of glass-bead embroidery. Rainbow selvages are visible on both ends of the breechcloth, as is edging in red silk with small white glass beaded x’s. Characteristically, the abstract floral, or Prairie style, beadwork compositions on the front and back of the breechcloth are different. The color selections of both compositions, which include hot pink, pale blue, red, yellow, green, and gold translucent beads, are characteristic of the Prairie style. This style began to emerge among Delaware in the 1850s, and became a dominate design sensibility during the 1870s, ’80s, and into the ’90s among Native communities in Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and Wisconsin—notably the Winnebago, Oto, Osage, Iowa, and Sauk.

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