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Plains Sioux war shirt to headline December 13 sale

The plains style war shirt belonged to a high status member of the Sioux

Heritage Auctions will offer a circa 1890 Plains style Sioux pictorial beaded war shirt on December 13 in Dallas.

The shirt will headline its American Indian, Pre-Columbian and Tribal Art sale with a valuation of $40,000-60,000.

Sioux war shirt
The war shirt displays an intriguing American flag motif

The shirt is decorated with tassels made of human hair. These were originally used to recognise bravery in battle, but by the time this shirt was made they had lost this connotation.

Delia E Sullivan, Heritage Auctions' director of American Indian Art, said: "This is a really important piece, in part because, it's a war shirt - a very masculine object.

"Collectors love weapons and things related to warriors, and this shirt falls into that category. Plus, it's pictorial - it has American flags worked into the bead patterns, which everyone likes."

This motif was often incorporated in Sioux clothing around this time, although its significance is unclear.

Some experts believe it served as a kind of totemic symbol.

We have this genuine strand of hair from legendary Apache leader Geronimo for sale.

Other star lots include a Waja shoulder mask from northern Nigeria, which is expected to make $20,000-30,000.

It would have been worn by a dancer during one of the Waja's religious ceremonies and displays a dark patina from its many years of use.

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Images: Heritage Auctions

Last updated: 24 November 2016