American Indian
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Artist Unknown (Lakota Sioux, late 19th/early 20th century),
Moccasins , n.d.
hide, beads, 9 ¾ in.; 24.77 cm
Gift of Mrs. Joseph Norris, 1961.15.A-B

While tribes like the Cheyenne liked to incorporate bird and other animal figures into their moccasin decorations, the Lakota preferred abstract geometric patterns, sometimes said to represent clouds, lightning, or other natural phenomena. The predominant blues and white reflect a color preference in Sioux bead embroidery that has continued since European glass beads were first introduced in the early nineteenth century.

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