Transferring the Medicine Shield–1991

40" x 27" inches
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Rare Artist Proof Available

Fine Art Edition on Paper

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1990 Hubbard Award of Excellence, Best in Show

Among the Blackfeet people, the shield was considered a medicine object and treated with the same great care and reverence as all other medicine bundles. If the shield were to be transferred to another, it had to be exchanged in a formal ritual. The artist explains that in the tepee a smudge was made and the shield passed through it four times, four being considered a magical number by Plains Indians. The recipient of the shield was painted with yellow earth over the face and hands, the face then streaked by drawing the fingertips downward. A red transverse band was painted across the mouth. Four drums were beaten and special songs sung. The seller then took up the shield and dodged about, pretending to avoid blows or arrow strikes, as in a fight. At the end of the ceremony, the recipient paid the former owner with a horse.