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Northern Plains style Feather War Bonnet
Premium-quality reproduction of a late 19th – early 20th century Northern Plains style (Yankton-Yanktonai) flared style feather war bonnet. Made by me in 2017.
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Made from 30 select large 13 1/2" turkey feathers realistically simulating immature eagle feathers; each feather is attached to the cap by bending and wrapping with red wool trade cloth and tied with leatrher string which runs through a stiff rawhide loop. The feathers have white fluff decoration at the base and are accented with ermine pieces («coup dots») and yellow horsehair tufts recycled off from an original 1880-s U.S. cavalry shako helmet plume.
The old-fashion skull cap, made from two pieces of commercially tanned cowhide and sewn with cotton thread, is covered with red trade cloth and decorated all around with white ermine fur strips tipped with black skunk fur simulating ermine tails.
The buckskin forehead band is done in applique stitch using seed beads and features old style design on yellow background.
Side decorations consist of ermine fur strips along the edges from one end of the browband to another.
In the middle of the crown there is a stripped Sun Dance quill, tipped with nice yellow feathers and surrounded with a cluster of cut-and-stripped feathers dyed red and yellow.
In the rear portion underneath the feathers is tied a bronze medallion with my signature and personal war medicine pouch.
Manufacturer: Maza Sapa (4 Colors)
Manufacture year: 2017
Tribal style: Assiniboine, Lakota
Materilas: Czech beads *, Ermine fur *, Genuine leather *, Horse hair *, Imitation eagle feathers *, Natural turkey feathers *, Rawhide *, Skunk fur *, Trade cloth *
Cap circumference: 63 cm (fits head size under 60 cm)
Collection: Central Plains
Insignia type: Feathered war bonnet
☩ I have for a long time wished to make a replica of this beautiful bonnet from the McCord Museum, but it did not reach it's turn. Unfortunately, the museum stinted on good quality photos and posted a poor profile image. Further, there are some losses on the bonnet: ermine tubes are almost gone and only poor remnants are left, there is no major quill and it is unclear how the skull cap is made, so the rest of details had to be made according to my own understanding. However, one thing was undoubtedly clear: it is a genuine masterpiece of Indian warrior art, in which the old-time spirit with its inherent laconism and simple beauty is still alive. Also the beadwork design is exactly what I most like — that imitating older quillwork patterns.
☩ In this bonnet I used select high quality turkey feathers simulating immature eagle feathers from my old stock that I've got by a special commission order from Real Legal Feathers (http://www.reallegalfeathers.com/) long ago. Besides, the overall finish and my particular attention to details renders this bonnet a completely believable replica and looks very good to me.
☩ Please note that using turkey or other natural feathers, prepared in a way to simulate eagle or hawk feathers, is a common practice in USA and other countries where birds of prey are under law protection and their use and possession is strictly prohibited except for Native Americans. So if you are not an Indian and don't want the extermination of these rare birds, the use of simulating feathers in this item can not be considered kinda violation or a disadvantage. As it was already mentioned in my article about Indian war bonnets, turkey feathers are generally used for imitation purpose: they are straightened first, then painted or dyed in a paricular way; their price depends on how accurately they simulate the original in shape, size, natural color and texture.
Ꮠ Plains Indian Craftsmen